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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
AT LOS ANGELES 




NERVES AND THE WAR 



NERVES AND THE WAR 



BY 



ANNIE PAYSON CALL 



" To get a true idea of real non-resistance, we must begin by 
associating it with all the qualities that make for strength." 
ABTHUB A. CABEY, in " New Nerves for Old." 




BOSTON 

LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 
1918 



Copyright, 1918, 
BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 



All rights reserved 



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CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAQH 

1 THE LAW 1 

2 " CONQUER BEGINNINGS " . . . .17 

j. 

3 "THE OTHER MAN" 33 

N 4 IN A HOSPITAL 51 

^ N 

5 ABOUT SUFFERING ..... 66 

6 THE POWER OF CLEANNESS ... 80 

7 SHELL SHOCK 93 

8 THE WILL TO USE THE BAYONET . .123 
4 9 DEATH AND DYING 137 

10 COURAGE 152 



V THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH . 169 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

CHAPTER 1 

The Law 

NERVES have everything to do 
with the war. A man cannot 
move a finger without a nerve 
to take the message from the brain to 
the muscles ; certainly he cannot fire a 
gun, or even aim it. And a man who 
cannot use his nerves as they should be 
used, to direct his muscles as they 
should be directed, is not equipped to 
the limit of his best possible power, 
either for fighting himself or for guiding 
and training other men to fight. 

Not many men to-day are so equipped. 
True, we speak commonly of a man 
i 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

having "nerve." But if you say that 
a man has "nerve", the meaning is 
generally taken to be that a man has 
grit, has courage sometimes that he 
has too much presumption in deal- 
ing with other men. Never, I take it, 
does it mean that he has permanent 
and well-balanced self-control, but only 
spurts of it, and that generally for a 
selfish end of his own. A man with so- 
called "nerve" will prove as weak as 
water if you know where to prick him. 
And often there comes in such a man's 
life a time and place where Fate, if 
we may call it that, does prick him, 
and then the man of "nerve" goes to 
pieces and has "nerves." 

It seems a great pity that "nerves" 
should stand for what is unhealthy, 
unwholesome, and even at times de- 
generate. For "nerves" are the great- 
est blessing a man can have in this 
2 



THE LAW 

whole world. In themselves they are 
the symbols of all that is useful, in- 
teresting, and healthy. Nerves are the 
connecting link between this world and 
the other. Nerves touch a man's body 
on one side and his soul on the other. 
Nerves are the channel over which a 
man's energy travels. Therefore the true 
management of nerves is literally the 
true management of the whole man 
by himself. And you cannot manage a 
German until you have managed your- 
self. 

In order to conquer yourself you need 
two things : first, saving or conserving 
power, which you will find comes from 
physical and mental relaxation at such 
times as your body and mind are off 
duty ; and, second, directing power, which 
will come from concentration toward the 
particular job at hand when body and 
mind are on duty. It is easy to see 
3 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

that these two forces are reciprocal. Re- 
laxation while you are at a rest billet 
will simply afford you so much surplus 
energy when you find yourself in the 
front line again. 

Most men do not fully appreciate that 
true will-power is the source of these 
two forces. A man's brain is directed 
by his will if he did but know it. 
Many a time have I heard a man com- 
plain of having a sick brain when I 
could answer truly, "The trouble is with 
your will, sir," and such an answer 
has always proved itself true. If the 
man recognizes the truth and rouses his 
will to direct his brain into wholesome 
channels, the brain responds and gets 
well. The will rules the brain by in- 
hibiting its use in ways that are con- 
trary to law, and by guiding it to act 
in ways that are according to law. Too 
many times the self-will is mistaken 
4 



THE LAW 

for the normal will and there is often 
trouble in consequence. It seems a 
great pity that we cannot say there is 
always trouble in consequence. The 
trouble, however, does not always follow 
the use of self-will in this world al- 
though it seems as if there could be no 
doubt, according to order, about its 
making up for lost time in the next. 
Surely a man must be guided into whole- 
some obedience to law somewhere in 
eternity. 

By the use of his self-will, a man is 
working to get his own way, whether or 
no. His own way may appear to be a 
very good way, it may be a way that 
is really at the time useful to other 
people, but he profanes the law of 
service by using it, without reverence or 
respect, only for his own ends. Scientists 
are forced to be guided by scientific law, 
but many of them have no reverence for 

5 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

the fact. I have sometimes thought that 
some scientists believed that they made 
the laws they are compelled to obey. 
On the other hand, a man using his un- 
selfish will, unperverted by wanting his 
own way, moves steadily and unswerv- 
ingly in accordance to law. Whether it 
is civil law, scientific law, moral law, or 
spiritual law that guides him, he allows 
himself to be guided, and he gets there. 
For the greatest, indeed the only real 
power in the world must come through 
implicit obedience to law. 

This necessary obedience to law is a 
strong factor in the healthy use of nerves. 
Much has been said during this war of 
the necessity for saving food, money, 
and indeed all material things, but little 
or nothing has been said with regard 
to the saving of human energy and 
yet the saving of human energy might 
be at the root of the power that wins 
6 



THE LAW 

the war. It is the most profitable sav- 
ing that there can be in the world, and 
all economies are more perfectly carried 
out when the saving of human energy 
comes first and all other savings are its 
derivatives. 

The first economy of human force 
comes from knowing and practicing the 
habit of resting entirely when one rests, 
whether it is a rest of five minutes or 
the rest for an entire night. This habit 
of economy means life and strength to 
a soldier. To this it may be answered : 
"A soldier fights in such a spirit of ten- 
sion that if he were to let down com- 
pletely when he had five minutes to 
rest in safety, he would go to pieces 
with a snap, and could not recover him- 
self when a quick call came for action." 

The reply to that statement is that 
any soldier fighting in such a spirit of 
tension, when his five minutes' rest came, 

7 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

could not let himself down if he tried. A 
man must have the normal habit of true 
economy of force back of him to be able 
to let down and rest in five minutes and 
then recover himself at once for quick 
and decisive action. 

Kipling gave this peculiar power of rest- 
ing to his pony in the polo game, "The 
Maltese Cat." The "Maltese Cat" says 
when he comes off the field, "'Now leave 
me alone. I must get all the rest I can 
before the last quarter. ' 

"He hung down his head and let all 
his muscles go slack, Shikast, Bamboo, 
and Who's Who copying his example. 

"Better not watch the game,' he said. 
'We aren't playing, and we shall only 
take it out of ourselves if we grow anx- 
ious. Look at the ground and pretend 
it's fly -time.' 

'They did their best, but it was hard 
advice to follow." 

8 



THE LAW 

Any intelligent soldier reading the 
above little bit from the story of the 
"Maltese Cat" could get from it in- 
valuable help in the performance of his 
work; and the Maltese Cat, if I re- 
member rightly, won the game. 

If we can rest when the time comes 
for resting, even in war, we have then a 
true background from which to learn 
economy of effort in everything we do 
from cleaning the captain's puttees to a 
charge with the bayonet. 

To rest truly, we must learn to give 
up when the time comes to give up. 
Drop the pictures out of our minds. 
Drop the anxieties as to what to do 
next. Drop our muscles so that our 
bodies are literally given up to gravity 
in every muscle. We need not be 
afraid ; everything we want to use will 
be there, and be there ready for use 
when our rest is over and the time comes 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

for action. Most men suffer unneces- 
sarily because they do not trust in the 
laws of nature. There always seems to 
be a sort of latent fear that the laws will 
go back on them, which is an impossi- 
bility. Indeed, men, because they 
have no faith, too often go back on 
the laws. So much for the economy of 
relaxation. 

The second economy, as I said before, 
is in using only the force and the part 
of one's body that is needed to do what- 
ever is before one to do the economy 
of concentration. That is to learn to 
do all one's work without strain. The 
forming of that habit must be begun out 
of hours. But one man who has gained 
it can help many another during action 
by a quick and kind suggestion as op- 
portunity offers. 

It would be an easy objection, and 
one that might sound reasonable, to say : 
10 



THE LAW 

"How can I waste my time thinking 
to do a thing with the least amount of 
force? The enemy would get the better 
of me at once while I was aiming to 
economize in getting the better of him. 
I must be alert, keen, quick, sharp, 
everything I do must go with a 'click." 

It does seem absurd on first thought 
to say that one can "click" with econ- 
omy of force, but on second thought 
it is easy to see that the greater the 
economy of energy, the better concen- 
trated is the "click." True concentra- 
tion is dropping everything that inter- 
feres. 

One must not stop to consider the 
true economy in the "click", but by 
considering, in leisure times, the true 
economy in all action, the brain gets 
turned into that direction, and as econ- 
omy of force becomes habitual in much 
that can be done at leisure, the habit 
ii 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

gradually spreads itself to the things 
that must be done with immediate 
promptness. 

This economy of concentration is a 
principle a working law in nature. 
Adam, if there ever was a personal 
Adam, anyway, Adam, as being 
typical of a perfectly natural man, 
would have obeyed it to perfection, 
before he left Paradise, for when he left 
he had to learn laboriously all that 
before then he would have done as a 
matter of course. So must any other 
man, by the use of his own free 
will, work his way into the current of 
perfect law until he consciously forms 
habits which enable him to be carried 
by such law, and so to be steadily en- 
lightened and guided. 

Let me repeat what I have trieii to 
make clear in this chapter : 

There is a law of human economy 
12 



THE LAW 

which dictates that a man can increase 
his mental and physical efficiency if he 
will rest while off duty and concentrate, 
to the elimination of everything except 
the particular duty at hand, at other 
times. Absolute obedience to this law 
is essential if a man would reap its 
benefits. True will power makes for 
obedience, selfish will power defeats it. 
If a man wills that he drop his thoughts 
of himself, self-pity, self -appreciation, 
self-aggrandizement, and all the rest of 
the brood, he will find it easy to con- 
serve while at rest and concentrate while 
at work ; he will find himself a small 
working unit in the mass of human econ- 
omy; he will find that he has attained 
the only "selfish" thing worth having 
self-control. 

In our blind foolishness, we grope 
around in darkness when we might so 
easily slip into the light. We aim labori- 
13 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

ously to make a fire with steel and flint 
when the whole blessed sun is at our 
disposal ; at our disposal it is, provided 
we obey its laws. The trouble is that 
man does not like to obey. He wants 
to use his will and his human machine 
according to his own ideas, and not at 
all according to God's laws. Man's own 
ideas, regardless of law, are always even- 
tually destructive, however good they 
may appear to be temporarily; but 
God's laws, when truly obeyed, are, 
without fail, always constructive. 

There is no law of mechanics that 
is not exemplified in the working of the 
human machine. The balance of a lever 
is a beautiful thing, and one can easily 
see the absurdity of adjusting a lever 
so that it would be able to raise a 
weight and then putting on additional 
and unnecessary force. To use un- 
necessary force so as to produce waste 

14 



THE LAW 

of energy is not mechanically desirable, 
but to use the laws of nature to econo- 
mize force is that for which a true 
mechanic is always aiming. 

A little thoughtful, intelligent use of 
the mind in studying true economy in 
nerve force, and a little will power 
exerted in its practice, will bring us into 
the normal working of the laws of human 
action, so that before we know it we 
shall feel as if our nerve machine had 
been oiled. And our steady unfailing 
reward will be greater efficiency in 
doing the work which has been set 
before us. 

Man is the only animal who can get 
up and look down on himself and see 
what he is doing, how he is doing it, 
and why he is doing it. Man is the 
only animal who can get a perspective 
within himself. If we took advantage, 
an honest advantage of that privilege, 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

it would bring us freedom, delicacy of 
perception, and power for a man's 
very identity is his power of distin- 
guishing and his power of choosing. 

The measure of his use of that power 
of choosing is his measure as a man. 



16 



CHAPTER 2 
"Conquer Beginnings" 

THERE is really nothing new in 
the chapters which follow. I 
have already stated the case, 
and in a way, nothing more can be said. 
But consider, for a moment, the multi- 
plicity of man's experiences in this war. 
How one man is a messboy on a de- 
stroyer hunting submarines ; how an- 
other is an ambulance driver ; how a 
third is a great general outlining cam- 
paigns which involve thousands of his 
fellows ; how a fourth sits at a desk cod- 
ing dispatches and keeping lines of com- 
munication open ; how hundreds and 
thousands of others sit on a firing step 
up to their knees in slush, and wait ; how 
17 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

thousands and hundreds of thousands 
of others are obeying their superiors, 
doing their several duties in ways too 
manifold to chronicle or even contem- 
plate. Or again, consider the simple 
yet vast difference between being a 
private and being an officer; consider 
the difference between mental agony, 
which some men are asked to suffer, 
and the physical agony which is the lot 
of others ; consider the fact that some 
men are born clean while others have to 
keep so ; that some are dull and others 
sensitive ; that many men never dreamed 
that they would be called upon to do 
this mammoth job of house-cleaning 
upon which each and every one, from 
generalissimo to striker, is somehow en- 
gaged. Consider all this, and you will 
see that, although I have already stated 
the case, it may be useful to look at the 
law and its workings from different 
18 



"CONQUER BEGINNINGS" 

sides from the different sides of the 
experiences of different men. For from 
each we may derive a precept, a kernel 
of truth, which although particular to 
the experience of only a few men, may 
still be used as a help in obeying the 
central law by all others. 

My first lift on the road toward the 
saving of human energy is Conquer 
beginnings. Conquer beginnings can be 
thought of in two ways : in the line of 
construction, in the line of destruction. 
Both are equally important, equally 
strengthening and effective, whatever 
path we may be taking, or wishing to 
take in the line of useful work, whether 
military or civil. 

Let us begin with the first the 
beginnings in constructive work. I re- 
member hearing a little girl who was 
about to begin the study of Latin lec- 
tured kindly by a wise and fatherly 

19 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

man. The main thing that impressed 
me, and it took a deep hold, was his 
saying in response to the child's ex- 
pressed fear of the hard work and as to 
whether she was equal to it : "My dear, 
Latin will be easy easy if you begin 
by getting the first lesson perfectly, so 
that you know it as well as you know 
your own name. Then do the same with 
the second lesson ; remember to know it 
as well as you know your own name, 
and you know that no teacher, however 
formidable he may be, can trip you up 
in asking you to give your name. Go 
right on with the same perfection of 
knowledge in the third lesson, and if you 
do not waver or slacken in succeeding 
lessons, you form the habit of getting 
each lesson perfectly. When starting to 
study, you feel uncomfortable until you 
have learned it perfectly, and thus you 
find Latin not only easy, but a joy." 

20 



"CONQUER BEGINNINGS" 

I well remember the rapt attention 
that the child gave, and her sigh of relief. 
Her quick perceptions seemed to drink 
in and absorb every word her kind friend 
said. I think there was at the time a 
slight question in her mind with regard 
to the "joy", but I have no doubt that 
she learned later that every active use 
of the mind for a good purpose, even 
if not at first personally interesting, 
grows to be a joy if we put our whole 
hearts into learning the first lesson per- 
fectly, as well as we know our own names ; 
if we insist upon that, and follow in 
the same spirit with every succeeding 
lesson, the very exercise of the brain in 
such a case is refreshing. The work, 
if we do not overdo it, starts the circu- 
lation and clears out the dead tissue in 
the brain, making room for the building 
up of new tissue, and the consequent 
renewal of life there. 
21 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

There are big things and little things 
where it is clear, indeed, it can be- 
come clear in everything, that to con- 
quer in the very first is more sure to 
lead to success, and a well-founded suc- 
cess, later on. This great war had cer- 
tainly one of its beginnings fifty years 
ago, when, after the Prussian success 
in France, Germany began to prepare 
for "the conquest of the world." There, 
in that time years ago, if England had 
seen that Germany was making her 
beginning, and England had at once 
"begun", the war would probably have 
been over by now, or the forces that made 
the war might possibly have fought it 
out without bloodshed, and Germany to- 
day would be a happy republic. If not, 
England would have had a trained army 
equal to Germany's, and a freedom which 
would have made it comparatively easy to 
help France and even to have invaded 

22 



"CONQUER BEGINNINGS" 

Germany. But England did not conquer 
in the beginning. She did not even 
begin when Lord Roberts told her to. 
She had to make her beginning with 
Kitchener's army, and of course her 
conquest comes later, in consequence. 
Thank God she has made her beginning 
now. 

Did not we United States do the same 
thing ? Our beginning should have been 
made with the sinking of the Lusitania, 
or before, and long before that some 
intelligent person should have realized 
the amount of work required to har- 
monize the various elements of this 
country into a strong, healthy focus, and 
we should have begun. 

But again, suppose we had a "Lord 
Roberts", as I believe we had; most 
of our people were too busy working, too 
busy serving their Absolute Monarchy, 
to listen. The only way was to have been 
23 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

driven to it. The result was naturally 
a sad and unhappy botch of a beginning, 
but we have learned at least part of our 
lesson and are now truly beginning to 
begin, and not too late to help England 
and France to do their work thoroughly. 
To conquer beginnings in all construc- 
tive work means to conquer at begin- 
nings, of course. It is as necessary with 
each individual as it is with a nation. 
Nations are made up of individuals, 
and if each individual in the nation is 
making a point of getting his own first 
lesson perfectly, what a wonder of power 
and use a nation could be ! An army 
is made of individual men ; if each officer 
and private would work on the principle 
of conquering beginnings, of making so 
strong and true a start in his work that 
he gets into the current of it at the first 
step, and getting fairly into the cur- 
rent, keeps a steady eye to stay there, 
24 



"CONQUER BEGINNINGS" 

the effect upon the army might appear 
to be a miracle ! 

In all action, the real start is in the 
mind. One must always get mentally 
prepared for action. A great general 
does all his work in his head. Minor 
officers should of course follow his ex- 
ample in mental preparation. Listen to 
what is said, and then do it is the motto 
for every private. 

In learning to drill to obey promptly 
to fire a gun to use a bayonet 
do not fail to respect the necessity of 
work in your mind at the beginning 
and at each new beginning in the prog- 
ress of training. 

I knew a remarkable athlete and 
watched him in acrobatic work that re- 
quired skill and precision of movement. 
"How did you do it?" I asked in sur- 
prise and wonder. "Well," he answered, 
"I did most of it lying still in bed !" 

25 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

It seems as if certain forces from within 
came to a man's aid when he gets well 
aimed in the beginning. Certainly to 
continue successfully is always easier if 
one has a firm foundation at the start. 
It helps also to see that often success 
comes because through what we have 
learned by failure we can better start 
again and make a true beginning. One 
sometimes fails, it seems, only to enable 
himself to learn how to begin rightly. 

It may not be out of place to say here 
that conquering in the beginning of all 
constructive work can better lead to con- 
tinued success if we are intelligent about 
not keeping at any work too long, about 
giving our brains rest when the right 
time comes, and respecting intelligently 
the restful and wholesome influence of 
a change of work. This may come, 
does come, often with a soldier at times 
when his brain is tired, even fagged, 
26 



"CONQUER BEGINNINGS" 

and rest or change of attention are out 
of the question because of interfering 
with duty - - where such interference is 
impossible. In such cases the tendency 
of the men is to resist, and the natural 
tendency of the nerves and muscles, 
quite distinctly from the man, is to 
resist. Thus the will of the man has to 
do double work. The man must posi- 
tively drop his own tendency to resist, 
and he must take his muscles and his 
nerves in hand, as he would guide a 
refractory horse quiet them down and 
insist upon dropping their resistances. 
This a man can do on the march. He 
can do it in many forms of active serv- 
ice. He can do it better if his mind 
has worked habitually and with intelli- 
gence in that way before ; and sometimes 
this power, which is really innate, will 
jump out of a man's subconsciousness 
and he will find himself working to save 
27 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

his force and succeeding, while at the 
same time wondering where in the world 
his new-found knowledge and power came 
from. When one discovers that nerves 
are strengthened by yielding to laws that 
are bigger than we are, not only they, 
but our power for well-concentrated ac- 
tivity, grow in consequence ; it is as if 
one had discovered a gold mine, more 
than that, and better, much better. 

We conquer beginnings in all con- 
structive work in order to proceed better 
in active construction, whether it be 
work of the mind or the body or both. 
We conquer beginnings in what attacks 
us as destructive in order to get out of 
our systems all interferences to good 
work. 

Jealousy of the other man attacks us 

and is destructive most horribly so, 

if it is permitted to take its course. 

Resistance to the fact of things not 

28 



"CONQUER BEGINNINGS" 

going our way is destructive. Resist- 
ance to other people's faults and pecu- 
liarities is an attack which eats the life 
out of us if we let it get its teeth in. 
Resentment to those whom we think 
have injured us is so destructive in its 
effect that it might, without rightly 
offending any one's taste, be called rot- 
ting. Every man can really know his 
own destructive tendencies better than 
any one else, if he looks for them and 
wants to find himself out. Unhealthy 
excitement of all kinds is destructive. 
Homesickness, if we let it possess us, 
destroys our best powers. Being "sick 
of the whole thing" is fairly murderous 
to every one's best possible work. The 
loathsomeness of sights which soldiers 
in active service must have before their 
eyes, strange to say, is destructive 
of real human sympathy, if we let it 
get into us. 

29 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

Every one of these temptations can be 
conquered in the beginning, and if a man 
learns how to yield and thus to drop the 
strain of muscle, nerve and brain that the 
ugly things cause, to yield in the beginning 
as soon as the trouble appears, to turn 
away from the temptation and to his 
best sense of the opposite good, he will 
not only free himself from the ravages 
of the temptation, but he will get a 
whiff of fresh air in his soul that will 
add to his power of conquering the 
next time his weak tendency appears. 
The same tendency must be conquered 
over and over before it can be put out 
of the way altogether. And if conquered 
over and over in its beginnings., it has 
no weakening power whatever, and the 
attention and work given to conquering 
brings steadily increasing strength. 

When we open our minds to better 
things, if we have a true dramatic sense, 
30 



"CONQUER BEGINNINGS" 

it rushes to our rescue. We see what the 
result would have been if we had let the. 
selfishness have its way and go on to its 
full conclusion. We see the contrast of 
letting an evil have its own way with us, 
compared to the freedom which comes 
from conquering beginnings. Indeed, 
the habit of conquering beginnings clears 
one's human perceptions altogether, and 
enables a man to put himself profitably 
in another man's place profitably to 
the other man and equally so to himself. 

As we drop the worst of ourselves, our 
bad tendencies, and positively refuse to 
act or to speak or to think from them, 
we find the good tendencies right there 
quickly ready to supply their places. 

If one does not conquer beginnings of 
all temptations, the evil, selfish tenden- 
cies will work themselves into the system 
sometimes with coarse and evident force, 
but often so subtly that they are not 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

perceived until a man finds himself in 
bondage to them, a bondage which often 
becomes torture; and even though the 
man is tortured, he has not will enough 
to free himself, because in the beginning 
he did not use his will to conquer. 

A man can think this whole subject 
out for himself, and obey or disobey to 
no end. But to all it must be plain to 
see the possible power to develop from 
starting right to begin with, in all con- 
structive action, and the impossibility of 
working constructively unless we nip the 
destructive tendencies in the bud. Turn 
away from them at first sight. Conquer 
beginnings. 



CHAPTER 3 



NO one who thinks can doubt the 
very great and radical use that 
the war may be to these United 
States. We have been, as a great states- 
man rightly said, too much like a poly- 
glot boarding-house. We need to be 
amalgamated and harmonized, and in 
our present state of civilization what 
else could possibly do it but a great war 
for a great cause? 

The men in this country have been so 
engaged in asserting their own "freedom" 
that they have neglected more and more 
conspicuously to respect the freedom of 
other men. The result has been bond- 
age bondage on all sides. Bondage 

33 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

masquerading as freedom. Really 
slavery in the broadest sense of the 
word. 

A noted Englishman who came as an 
emissary to help us to do our best in the 
war said he came expecting to find a 
great democracy, and found instead an 
absolute monarchy of the most extreme 
kind, and the monarch, he said, was 
SELF, selfish interest, on all sides 
selfish interest. That man showed a 
clean perception and a keen and quick 
recognition of human frailty. He spoke 
the truth, and no one who truly loves his 
country could help thanking him for it, 
as indeed he spoke from a desire to serve 
the country, and not at all to condemn 
it. He saw that we were not a free 
nation, but a nation in bondage, in 
bondage to self, and he respected our 
national intelligence enough to feel it 
worth while to tell us, believing that we 
34 



"THE OTHER MAN" 

would recognize the disease and discover 
and apply the remedy. 

Of course the remedy, to reach the whole 
nation, must be heartily used by each 
individual. The whole body is healthy 
in proportion as each organ, nerve and 
muscle, each red corpuscle of blood and 
each white corpuscle, -- indeed, as every 
atom of the body, does its own work 
independently of every other atom, and 
so supplies true vitality for the help of 
every other atom. The moment one 
part of the body gets out of order, the 
whole body feels the effects ; except, I be- 
lieve, there are certain cutaneous troubles 
that are disagreeable in themselves but 
do not affect the general health at all. 

Let us hope that this country will at 
the end of the war find itself to be 
more of an organic whole ; and although 
there will always probably be cutaneous 
troubles to a greater or less extent, if 

35 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

they are humors thrown completely to 
the surface, they can be managed with 
comparative ease. 

To gain individual freedom, men must 
learn to respect one another to re- 
spect one another truly, not to appear to 
do so for the sake of gaining their own 
ends, which is a very common practice, 
and entirely destructive of all true human 
intercourse. 

A perfect community is one where 
each man attends to his own business 
with a living interest in making that 
business work, not for his own profit 
alone, but equally for its use to the 
community. Those two aims do not 
in the very least interfere with one an- 
other ; they aid one another. They can 
only be practiced by a mind that dis- 
cards pettiness as an interference to his 
best work, and to his best interests. A 
man working heartily in response to such 
36 



"THE OTHER MAN" 

aims not only intelligently respects the 
business and interests of other men, but 
is ready always to lend his aid when he 
can do so without intrusion or presump- 
tion. 

. Now this is one place where the war 
can and will be doing good work one 
of the many places. Most men in this 
country need to learn the dignity of 
obedience, obedience to law and obe- 
dience to other men because they stand 
for law. Most Americans have had a 
mistaken idea of being their own masters ; 
therefore they have been in bondage to 
their own false idea of dignity. They 
have thought it beneath them to obey. 
The " I-am-as-good-as-you " attitude that 
one notices at once on coming into the 
United States, whether it is in a waiter 
at a hotel or in a member of Congress, 
is like a disease that steadily debases the 
country. If I have to take an attitude 

37 



2>JI I rK"S 
_^ __ k_f : B- J -i-J l O 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

of I-am-as-good-as-you toward my fellow 
men, that very effort of mine to prove 
that I am proves that I am not. 

To obey promptly, from one's own 
free will, without resistance either out- 
side or inside, is one of the most digni- 
fied actions of man. If a man could 
measure the amount of nervous energy 
lost in kicking against obedience, it 
would astonish him. It is as unintelli- 
gent, as foolish, as to throw coal into 
the ocean when every bit of coal is needed 
for fuel on the land. Put your whole 
heart into obeying with a "click" if 
you ever want to learn to command. 
If we resist obedience to a man, where 
obedience is in the line of the law, we 
resist obeying law. And although many 
men try to do it, we cannot live and 
act with real success without respecting 
the law any more than we can make 
electricity work for us without respecting 
38 



"THE OTHER MAN" 

the necessity of both the negative and 
the positive currents. 

In resisting obedience we are trying to 
swim up an impossible stream. In obey- 
ing willingly, the stream carries us, and 
we can work with true economy of force. 
We not only act wisely, but we save 
our nerve strength. 

Kipling's Aurelian McGoggian, who 
"worked brilliantly, but could never 
accept an order without trying to better 
it", used up his nervous force by his 
resistance, until he was frightened into 
willing obedience by an almost fatal 
collapse. He did not wish to obey any 
one. He did not believe, or pretended 
that he did not believe, - - there was a 
God to obey. And as Mr. Kipling 
aptly puts it, "life, in India, is not long 
enough to waste in proving that there 
is no one in particular at the head of 
affairs. For this reason. The Deputy 

39 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

is above the Assistant, the Commis- 
sioner above the Deputy, the Lieutenant- 
Governor above the Commissioner, and 
the Viceroy above all four, under the 
order of the Secretary of State who is 
responsible to the Empress. If the Em- 
press be not responsible to her Maker 
if there is no Maker for her to be re- 
sponsible to the entire system of our 
administration must be wrong." 

We could, with profit, say the same of 
America, changing only the titles of the 
offices, and of course we can see that if 
each man makes himself responsible first 
to his Maker, he thus receives light and 
strength to be truly responsible to the 
human officer above him. 

Rightly speaking, the salute is at the 
root of all military training. It is es- 
pecially at the root of all respect and 
obedience to office. We do not salute 
the man, we salute the office. We salute 
40 



"THE OTHER MAN" 

what the man stands for. Above all, 
we salute the State through the officer. 
Any man who loves his country and 
understands the significance of the salute, 
salutes always with precision and dig- 
nity, and enjoys it. A slouchy attitude 
dissipates force; an unwilling salute 
filled with antagonism and resistance 
wastes force. The more the antagonism 
and resistance are repressed, and the 
more perfect the salute is in form, 
covering up such antagonism, the more 
force is wasted. It stands to reason 
that if a man is very much strained 
inside in repressing his desire to punch 
another man's head rather than to offer 
him a respectful salute, and is strained 
in concealing the strain of antago- 
nism, he must be using up human fuel 
at a tremendous rate and very fool- 
ishly. 

I have heard it said that there are men 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

in the South who will be disgraced 
themselves rather than salute a negro 
officer. Most well-born Southerners are 
intrinsically gentlemen ; therefore, it 
seems as though it would be a simple 
matter for them to cast off their race 
prejudices sufficiently to see that a man 
who refuses to salute another whose 
office demands it, because he is a negro, 
shows himself to be below the negro, 
for he disregards the office in disregard- 
ing the man. A man should with cour- 
tesy, precision, and grace salute a bed- 
post, if it were understood that the 
bedpost should stand for the government 
of his country. 

Suppose we know an officer to be 
bad --unfit for his duty. Suppose he 
is filled with unmanly characteristics that 
go against us, go against us because 
they are bad, and for no other reason. 
So long as he holds his office, we must 
42 



"THE OTHER MAN" 

salute him willingly, even heartily, with 
the same respect that we could hold for 
a man whom we thoroughly admired, be- 
cause it is the office we respect, and not 
the man. When we can respect both 
man and office, so much the better. And 
where is the use of using up some pounds 
of our own force in allowing antagonism 
to a man to possess us when we are 
saluting his office? Is there any use 
in that at all ? And here is a bit of 
psychology which grows greatly in in- 
terest as one sees it work. The more we 
respect his office, and treat it with re- 
spect, the more in contrast will the 
boorishness or incapacity of the officer 
stand out in the light the sooner he 
will be discovered and the sooner de- 
posed. Or the sooner will he get a 
sight of his own boorishness and inca- 
pacity, and drop it as he would a dirty 
shirt. 

43 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

What an officer is as a man is none of 
our business. It is our business to re- 
spect his office and to respect it heartily. 
Drop the antagonism and salute the 
officer, and watch for the psychological 
law to work. It never fails; some- 
times it is a long time working, but in 
the end it never fails. 

This tendency to antagonism and re- 
sistance tells especially in brother officers 
living together. As when we travel with 
friends or acquaintances we often find 
out personal peculiarities that we had 
never suspected before, which are in- 
tensely disagreeable ; so when we are 
closely associated with other men in a 
military camp, especially when there is 
much necessary waiting with little or 
nothing to do, the other men's peculiar 
quibbles appear and chafe us. If we 
allow ourselves to resist the peculiari- 
ties, we suffer great discomfort and only 

44 



"THE OTHER MAN" 

lose nervous strength, every bit of which 
we need for our work as soldiers or as 
other active helpers in the war. Even 
if a man is mean, brutal, or cruel, we 
gain nothing and lose much force by 
resisting his meanness, cruelty, or brutal- 
ity, i 

What shall we do, then ? Yield 
cease all such resistance. We will find 
that resistance and antagonism to an- 
other man tightens our nerves and 
muscles. We will find that by persis- 
tently relaxing such tension, it becomes 
impossible to hold the resistance, and 
we will find that the relief of having 
yielded to it is so much greater than we 
could by any chance have imagined that 
we may almost wish that other dis- 
agreeable men may come in our horizon 
that we may appreciate more the com- 
fort of freedom from resisting or resent- 
ing them. It is a little like the darkey 

45 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

who, when his master found him whip- 
ping himself, and asked: "Why do 
you do that, Sambo?" answered, "Oh, 
Massa, 'cause it feel so gude when yuh 
stops." 

There is this advantage also : that by 
constantly dropping resistance to other 
men, our brains become quiet and clear. 
We grow more intelligent with regard to 
the characters of the men about us, and 
while we become more sensitive to their 
selfishness, we are equally open to dis- 
cover good points in them to which our 
antagonism would otherwise have blinded 
us entirely. 

If we feel antagonism to a man, that 
is very apt to rouse ill feeling in him, 
and so the hellish spirit is increased 
by playing back and forth between men. 
If we cease to hold our own antagonism, 
the other man is saved the responsive 
ill feeling, and our effort may even, nay, 
46 



"THE OTHER MAN" 

often does, become the means of start- 
ing other men in the habit of construc- 
tive good will. 

It is a mistake to think that through 
the practice of non-resistance we grow 
dull, or that it makes us weak. The 
truth is quite the contrary. 

Exciting emotions always befog a 
brain, and, beyond that, it requires more 
will to yield positively than it does to 
act positively. Therefore, if we have 
cultivated and strengthened our wills by 
yielding, we have just so much more for 
prompt and effective duty in action. 

An officer who uses his will to yield 
positively in order to free himself from 
the resistance and strain to which 
the peculiarities of his privates tempt 
him, not only brings himself to where 
his training is more immediate and 
perfect in its effect upon his men, but 
endears himself to all his men by his 

47 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

vigorous patience and the clear under- 
standing of their individual difficulties 
which such patience gives him. Every 
one knows that in battle a man is most 
truly and effectually followed who wins 
the admiration and affection of his men. 
Once more with regard to brother 
officers : a man may be filled with a 
tendency to complain and may feed the 
complaints of his fellow officers, or he 
may from the practice of yielding drop 
all his resistance to what is going wrong 
in the mess or elsewhere, and by listen- 
ing to the complaints of the other men 
with a calmness of mind and not an un- 
sympathetic attitude, find it possible to 
keep such a margin within himself that 
the antagonism of others does not touch 
him ; and gradually when the men have 
all had enough outlets for their com- 
plaints, the atmosphere will grow quiet 
enough for some one to suggest a remedy. 
48 



"THE OTHER MAN" 

If the brain of an eloquent lecturer 
can carry with it an audience of a thou- 
sand or more, so that all brains are 
working as one, the brain of a man who 
has an intelligent control of his own 
emotions can have an equally quieting 
influence on a dozen or more of excited, 
discontented men. The best working 
power of the quiet forces has not yet 
really been discovered in this world. 
When it has been more fully discovered 
and used, men will begin to appreciate 
what real power is. 

The Japanese have the idea a little, 
but too much toward selfish ends rather 
than universal ends. " Moral jiujitsu is 
not resisting the adversary, but giving 
way to his pressure, that he may the 
better trip him up and confound him." 
This is better read "not resisting the 
adversary, but giving way to his pressure 
that he may the better prove the best 
49 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

working of the moral law." To conquer, 
conquer by yielding is the best and 
truest way for individual work. We are 
really yielding to law and not to our 
opponent, and such individual conquer- 
ing makes the best possible soldier in a 
war of force. 

The Other Man is the most important 
individual in the world. That is the 
basis of Christianity, which is what we 
are fighting for in this war. If Every 
Man will learn to forget himself and 
remember the Other Man, we shall not 
have to fight very much longer. Re- 
member the Other Man. 



CHAPTER 4 

In a Hospital 

IN a hospital, if the nurses are well 
trained, truly focussed to their work, 
clear-headed, sympathetic and yet 
without false sympathy, if the pa- 
tients are obedient and responsive, of 
course the work tends steadily and en- 
tirely toward health. We are not here 
unmindful of the doctors ; we are taking 
it for granted that they are all right. 

Let us speak first of the patients; 
then if a man should happen to read this 
book who later comes into a hospital, 
enough of the light here may remain with 
him to help him through and out of the 
hospital in quicker time than would be 
otherwise possible, and perhaps may even 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

enable him to be of use to the man in 
the next bed. 

One who is ill can lie quiet and endure 
his suffering without a word of com- 
plaint, but at the same time he can be 
holding himself so tensely that his cir- 
culation is interfered with, and the cura- 
tive power of nature and the remedies 
given to him are constantly interrupted. 
In many, many cases a brave, un- 
complaining man does endure in that 
way, and he endures thus because he 
knows no other way. No one has taught 
him ; it has never been suggested to 
him. His grandfathers and grand- 
mothers endured just like that before, 
and every one said of them as they say 
of the grandson, "How beautiful ! What 
wonderful endurance ! What a monu- 
ment of patience!" This is said over 
and over, and no one knows that while 
such a man is indeed in all appearance a 

52 



IN A HOSPITAL 

monument of patience, he is at the same 
time a monstrosity of strain. 

This "monument of patience" is wrong 
because his strain delays his recovery 
more than if he cried out and com- 
plained and swore at his nurses. Either 
extreme is decidedly undesirable, but the 
crying out at least gives an outlet and 
starts the circulation toward a healthy 
movement in the beginning, although if 
carried too far, it can lead to inflamma- 
tion. But with a quiet endurance which 
accompanies an interested insistence of 
the will upon dropping strain, we bring 
all the good and wholesome forces that 
tend toward health directly to our aid. 
Let me give a simple illustration. A 
man was way up in the north of England 
visiting for the first time a friend whose 
family he had never met before. His 
visit was to be for only a few days be- 
cause his passage was taken on a steamer 

53 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

to sail for home in a week. It was es- 
sential that he should reach home at the 
time when the steamer was due, and, 
although this last may seem to be a 
minor matter, for reasons of his own 
which to him seemed very important, 
the man was desperately homesick. 

All at once, and without any warning, 
this man was taken suddenly with a 
severe form of grippe. What came to 
him first was, "I am in a stranger's 
house ; what right have I to be ill here ?" 
That caused the tightening of his nerves, 
Number 1. Then came rushing on him 
what seemed to be the very evident 
fact: "Feeling as ill as I do now, 
how can I possibly expect to be able 
to reach Liverpool and sail for home in 
a week?" There was the cause Number 
2 of tightening of the nerves ; in that was 
the knowledge of the essential need of his 
being at home, and the extreme horne- 

54 



IN A HOSPITAL 

sickness which was a sort of torture. 
The cause of tightening Number 2 seemed 
colossal and overwhelming. Our friend 
had about an hour of that, and of course 
his fever was increasing and he himself 
was feeling proportionately ill, when it 
occurred to him that all his anxieties 
were increasing his illness. He called 
himself names and said to himself, "Now 
look here, John ; if you go on this way, 
you have no chance at all. You have 
heard of the curative power of yielding. 
Now is your opportunity to prove its 
truth, and your only possible way of 
being able to sail." Whereupon he put 
his whole will, shall I say all the 
strength of his character, to work to 
make himself willing not to sail. "All 
right, all right," he repeated over and 
over to himself, "I am willing to stay 
here in bed and let the boat go without 
me. All right, all right; if things go 

55 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

to smash, it is not my fault if I am tied 
down here and cannot move. It is my 
fault if I do not do everything in my 
power to yield in muscle and nerve so 
that nature can make full use of the one 
chance." And he did yield in muscle 
and nerve and in his mind and in his 
will. He worked like a Trojan to do so. 
The result was, that instead of the fam- 
ily's feeling oppressed by his illness, 
they were cheered and enlightened by 
his way of taking it; not by anything 
he said, but by what he did, or didn't, 
do. His fever went down, and when 
the day came for him to take the train 
for Liverpool, he was ready to do it, 
and he sailed on the appointed steamer. 
The grippe is an illness which, as the 
Irishman said, keeps you ill a week, and 
it takes six weeks to get over it. And 
this man, of course, had his share of 
weakness in recovery, but it was a 

56 



IN A HOSPITAL 

smaller share than if he had not put his 
will to work to drop the strain, and much 
smaller because after he got on to his 
feet he kept at work in the same healthy 
direction. 

You can do what you have to do more 
perfectly if you cease opposition to all 
possible interferences and put your mind 
on yielding for the sake of reaching your 
end more truly. When your end is re- 
covery from illness, you can reach it 
immeasurably better and sooner by yield- 
ing to free yourself from all interferences ; 
and all forms of willful and nervous im- 
patience with illness interfere with its 
cure. 

The illustration I have given above 
is a homely one, but the principle is the 
same in cases much more serious. Using 
the will to relax in muscle and nerve -^ to 
yield and thus to drop the strain of suffer- 
ing from wounds has always an effect of 
57 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

allaying the inflammation, sometimes 
more and sometimes less, but always 
to some extent. Also an important thing 
to remember is that what comes to the 
memory of exciting associations, horrible 
scenes we have been in, and all akin 
to them, is the cause of great strain, 
and brings or holds the fever. We must 
yield and yield, and let such pictures 
go through us and out of us. It can be 
done, and it is good to say to ourselves 
we must do it, and we will, and, if we 
persist, before long we will find things 
quiet, pleasant, and strengthening rising 
up and out of our subconsciousness to 
take the places of all that was terrible. 
Later we can even look at the terrible 
things with a quiet mind. But a man 
must know how to yield ; of course he 
must, or he cannot do it after long 
habits of tension. It is of little use for a 
nurse to say "drop it", "forget it", un- 
58 



IN A HOSPITAL 

less the patient cooperates. You cannot 
forget a thing really unless you have 
faced it first, because until you have 
understood and intelligently denounced 
its destructive power, it has a certain 
hold on you. The patient would often 
be glad to cooperate, if he knew how. In 
the matter of yielding, we have nature 
on our side, and she, if one can express 
it so, is only too glad to teach us as we 
give her opportunity. And if a man will 
listen and attend to the fact that there 
is such help for him, he will surely get 
the help. 

Sometimes the ability to yield comes 
through simply dropping an arm or 
letting it lie heavily by you until it is 
as limp and as free from resistance as a 
baby's arm when the baby is sound asleep. 
From the sense of that one quiet, un- 
resisting arm there comes a sense of 
yielding all over the body if one at- 

59 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

tends. Sometimes one learns to relax 
strain through taking long breaths, and 
sinking heavily as the breath goes out. 
Steady, rhythmic breathing is very help- 
ful in bearing pain. I remember seeing 
a physician, standing by the bedside of 
a man who was in very intense pain, 
watch the man with curious interest 
while feeling his pulse. Finally, the 
doctor exclaimed, "Well, you certainly 
relax all right. With an ordinary man 
in pain like that, the breathing would 
be about sixty to a minute, whereas 
you are breathing about six times a 
minute." 'Yes," answered the patient, 
"I am doing that to ease my pain 
also to enable me to bear it." The 
man said it simply and rather as a matter 
of course, but it was interesting news 
to the doctor ; he had not been in the 
habit of seeing people meet the strain 
of intense pain in that way, although he 
60 



IN A HOSPITAL 

of course at once accepted intelligently 
his patient's explanation. 

The more steadily you breathe rhyth- 
mically, with a constant aim at using 
less force, the more the deep breathing 
will enable you to yield and the more 
freedom it will give to normal circula- 
tion. During the time when the surgeon 
is dressing the wound and after he has 
left, having done his best to make it 
comfortable, the patient by deep, quiet 
breathing and by trying to yield can 
prevent the fever that is apt to follow 
or at least can lessen it. An intelli- 
gent and obedient cooperation of his 
patient is a great delight to a busy 
doctor. Even the quickening power of 
giving and receiving in such sympathetic 
process of curing and being cured gives 
life and hope to the patient and sends 
the doctor on his busy rounds with a 
lighter heart. 

61 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

You see that in the process of yielding 
to free ourselves from pain we have double 
work to do, for often when our minds and 
wills are turned entirely toward yielding, 
our muscles and nerves seem to have 
personalities of their own and to refuse 
to yield. If we recognize their obstinacy, 
however, and persist, we are sure to 
conquer, for, after all, they are our own 
muscles and our own nerves, and were 
made to obey us, and they will obey us 
if we guide them with a quiet mind. 
Such rebellious muscles and nerves must 
be guided always without emotion. You 
cannot insist upon their obedience with 
strain; they rightfully cry out, "If you 
want us to obey, do it yourself" 

Notice that by yielding it is meant to 
submit to pain instead of fighting against 
it and thus to assist the healthy working 
of the laws of nature. Let nature do her 
best work ; her best work is all right. 
62 



Now this attention of the will to yield- 
ing is interesting, even when the pain is 
severe. It acts as a diversion a diver- 
sion which is healthy and which grows 
more interesting as we find it succeed- 
ing, and feel the relief of such success. 
And sometimes when we have yielded 
to hard forms of pain and made our 
nerves and muscles obey and relax, we 
can actually feel nature say "thank 
you" as she finds her way open to go 
ahead and do her wholesome work. 

But what of the nurses ? Certainly a 
nurse working without strain and one 
working with strain are great contrasts. 
And the nurse who can learn to work 
without strain can bring with her at- 
mosphere very radical help to her 
patients. The happy cooperation men- 
tioned above between doctors and pa- 
tients means even more in the case of 
nurses, for a nurse is, after all, the entire 
63 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

time with her patient, whereas a doctor 
can only see him on his professional 
visits. 

Some nurses kill themselves with false 
emotions (real to them) in so-called 
sympathy. Some nurses preserve them- 
selves in cold storage by hardening their 
hearts into no sympathy at all. The 
happy medium is, of course, a genuine 
and unselfish sympathy which makes the 
nurse keenly sensitive to her patient's 
needs, whether they are physical or 
mental, and quick to supply them 
where such supply is possible. There 
are nurses who weary their patients with 
their kindness. One can always see be- 
hind such kindness a desire to be thanked, 
to be appreciated, to be admired. Such 
" kindness" mars a nurse's work more 
and more and sometimes seems to be- 
fog her mind entirely. A nurse needs 
above all things to be impersonal, and 
64 



IN A HOSPITAL 

a truly impersonal attitude in her work 
keeps her more sensitively alive to her 
patient's needs. She is not full of care 
and attention to one man, and entirely 
forgetful of another, and she can accept 
gratitude and affection from those whom 
she served so happily and with so great 
a freedom from personal feeling that the 
effect is only wholesome, and lastingly 
so indeed a happy life-giving memory 
for each. 

When a nurse maintains a wholesome, 
gentle, and impersonal attitude toward 
the patient; when the patient controls 
his nerves with a normal and disinterested 
study, they are both helping the doctor to 
cure his subject, and all three are working 
in unison toward the greatest good 
that of freeing the bed for the next man. 
Thus mutual giving and receiving, in 
a hospital, as everywhere else, is always 
in the highest sense constructive. 

65 



CHAPTER 5 

About Suffering 

IT seems all very well to talk of suf- 
fering, quietly in a comfortable house 
with your three meals a day and a 
good bed to sleep in, but how is it in the 
midst of other suffering, miles away, 
suffering sometimes of the worst kind 
and indeed of all kinds. Although the 
contrast of the places and scenes is 
immense, still suffering is suffering every- 
where, and one can suffer more at times 
when comparatively alone than in the 
midst of surroundings and circumstances 
where every one is suffering. A man 
can suffer more alone than with others 
about him in pain, because the very 
turning out of the mind to relieve the 
66 



ABOUT SUFFERING 

suffering of others lightens one's own. 
Then, also, the same principles work 
with regard to the true meeting and 
conquering of suffering, and with regard 
to its actual use, whether the man is 
alone or with many others. 

Mental suffering, on the whole, is 
worse than physical, and there is apt to 
be a strong touch of the mental, in 
all physical suffering. 

In war there is both mental and phys- 
ical suffering, and very extreme phases 
of both. 

In one of Kipling's Jungle Stories, 
he tells how the elephants could not go 
into the battle, but could only carry their 
burdens just so far toward the edge, 
because the elephants "saw pictures in 
their heads" roused by the sight of the 
battle, which made them restless and 
unmanageable. When the elephants 
began to "see pictures" and had to be 
67 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

sent back, then the bullocks were made 
to carry the load the remainder of the 
way, for they did not see pictures in 
their heads and would even stand and 
graze comfortably in the midst of the 
most fearful scenes. 

Man differs from animals in that he 
can get up and look down on himself. 
A man's identity is his power of dis- 
tinguishing and his power of choosing. 
That is a privilege given him from the 
Creator which makes a man a man. 
The trouble is that man has left this 
wonderful human power so often un- 
used, even in its very crude forms, 
that very few men in this world even 
know the great privilege of its finer use 
nor the wonderful human perspective that 
may be found through the delicate and 
decided habit of distinguishing and 
choosing rightly, with the humility nec- 
essary to the use of all our best 
68 



ABOUT SUFFERING 

powers. How, for instance, is a man 
who lets a bad temper possess him go- 
ing to rule his imagination? How is 
a man who allows all forms of resent- 
ment or selfish resistance to stir him up 
or tighten him up going even to see the 
fine possibilities of his imagination? Of 
course it is impossible for a man even to 
know the power within himself when he 
keeps a turmoil, or a fog, or both, all 
the time on his outskirts. The imagi- 
nation of the elephants was of great use 
to them and their masters when it could 
be used in wholesome lines. The ele- 
phants can be wonderfully trained by 
means of their imagination. The bul- 
locks, having no imagination at all, could 
be used where the elephants failed. A 
man can be a bullock or an elephant in 
his imagination as the need is. That 
is wherein a man is higher than the 
beasts. It is, as I have said before, 
69 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

wherein a man is a man a child of 
God. 

When a man comes to a place wherein 
to refuse to "see pictures in his head" 
can enable him to be more useful, he 
can inhibit the pictures firmly and in- 
telligently, and they will obey him and 
disappear. He can do that without in 
the very least hardening himself or re- 
pressing the "pictures" to the point 
where they will come up when least ex- 
pected if he is refusing to see the pic- 
tures because of thereby gaining greater 
power of use. And, on the other hand, 
a man can feel with the elephants and 
can let his imagination have full sway, 
when, if his spirit is wholesome behind 
it, his imagination will be of the greatest 
service to him and to others. And the 
man's free spirit can sometimes guide 
the "pictures" to their use and some- 
times be guided by them. 
70 



ABOUT SUFFERING 

Now, with regard to the imagination 
and suffering, it seems to me that at 
least one third of the suffering in this 
world is unnecessary and comes from 
men and women letting false pictures 
get into their heads and nursing them 
there, like the two long-faced pessi- 
mists in Punch. First Pessimist : "Well, 
it's going to be worse in February." 
Super-pessimist: ; 'Yes, if February ever 
comes." 

The Buddhists tell us that the eyes 
cannot see until they are incapable of 
tears, and the soul cannot feel until it is 
incapable of human emotions. Yes, all 
right, that may be so ; one occasionally 
gets a light that enables one to see 
through a crack the possible state of 
clearness, of penetration and breadth, of 
perspective, and even the great possible 
human use of such a state, but a man must 
come through suffering to get there. I 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

have seen people who felt that they had 
reached that acme of calm, when to me 
it seemed clear that they had only 
hardened into a state of conceited, in- 
human lack of sympathy. They were 
perpetually licking their chops in the 
complacency of their own selfish souls. 

On the other hand, if we must, as 
indeed we must, come through suffering 
and victoriously out of it in order to 
gain the quiet strength which comes 
from an unswerving trust in God, and 
broadens and sharpens our perceptions 
to serve our fellow men if we are 
to do that, we must learn to discard 
false suffering, and to have none of it. 
Every man must recognize his own false 
suffering and discard it. It is not fair 
for one to judge another. Suffering in 
another may appear to me false where 
it is really very genuine. Another may 
suffer keenly for what would trouble 
72 



ABOUT SUFFERING 

us very little. To protect one's self 
and others from false or selfish suffering 
is a great privilege. 

It is, however, now only of genuine 
suffering I write. That is something to 
be heartily grateful for, if we let it do 
its work. Surely it is meant that we 
should be taught by suffering and many 
of us are. That suffering is a cleansing 
fire has to be heard many times before 
we can actually experience the fact that 
it is true. But when we do experience 
it, we are not only grateful for the cleans- 
ing, deeply grateful, but when further 
suffering comes we can meet it with 
finer intelligence and sometimes can even 
welcome it, for we mean to let it do its 
work, and the words "cleansing fire" 
have a power with us. 

To let suffering do its work we must 
learn in so far as it is possible to detach 
ourselves from it. I know a woman 

73 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

who had an unusually useful occupation 
among men and other women, the cir- 
cumstances of whose life, as well as the 
inheritance of a tendency to painful de- 
pression, caused her the keenest suffer- 
ing. This woman learned so to detach 
herself from her mental pain, without 
either tension or repression, that no one 
with whom she was working even sus- 
pected it ; and she told me that she was 
surprised in the midst of her work one 
day, when she was suffering most keenly, 
to hear some one whom she had been 
serving, looking up at her with a glowing 
face, say, "How happy you must be!" 
The exclamation was indeed a tribute 
to the fact that the woman detached 
herself from her suffering, endured, and 
worked on. To detach, to endure and 
to work -- that is the secret of letting 
suffering strengthen us, and there must 
be back of that another secret which 
74 



ABOUT SUFFERING 

is the motive of all, the secret of trust 
and obedience. Trust in and obedience 
to the Lord who made us. If we believe 
in Him at all, we must believe that He 
is guiding us to our best happiness and 
that He permits suffering to that end. 

In much suffering there seems to be 
a fight going on within us. Forces of 
good and evil seem to use some men as 
a battle ground. When the men de- 
tach themselves, endure, and do their 
duty, the forces have a clear field, and 
as "all hell is as nothing before God", 
the good is sure to conquer, provided 
that we leave it a clear field. It seems 
wonderful that we can even witness our 
own suffering, witness the process of the 
fight within us. God fights in us ; we 
step aside and do our work. We trust 
and obey. 

If we mix ourselves up in the fight, we 
only interfere, but by refusing to act 

75 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

from suggestions of selfishness and evil, 
and by insisting that we act upon sug- 
gestions that remind us of our duty and 
suggestions of good that do not inter- 
fere, we leave the field clear for battle. 

The minute we begin to suffer, we 
should make use of it. Let it clear us 
out. Attend to our business, which is 
to see that it does its work within us. 
If war must be if the carnage, the 
horror, the hell of war is permitted, let 
us see that in so far as each one of us is 
concerned, all the suffering that results 
does its work. If each individual, wait- 
ing and watching, even though at the 
same time busy with all possible ways of 
helping, does not let the suffering befog 
him, but himself uses the pain to learn 
to endure and to be cleansed and stimu- 
lated, he can do this good work in his 
thoughts of and for others as well as 
thoughts for himself. 
76 



ABOUT SUFFERING 

If each individual in the war itself 
takes suffering intelligently and trust- 
fully, no matter how great it is nor 
how much all those about him are 
suffering, if he keeps himself detached 
and takes from the suffering its best sug- 
gestions,, - - then, through the effort of 
each man actually in the war, and the 
effort of each man and woman at home 
working for the war, there will be a 
combined and collective work making 
directly for peace, and the best peace 
real peace, lasting peace. 

You see, except when a man is raging 
and fuming, and "suffering" because he 
does not get his own way, which is 
all hell, suffering has in it both hell 
and heaven. It is, as I have said, a 
combat within us. If we do our duty, 
and in doing it accept all suggestions 
from heaven, refusing with healthy hatred 
every temptation from hell, we are throw- 
77 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

ing ourselves on God's mercy, and God's 
side always wins in the end. It is ac- 
cording to the behavior of the man who 
is the field of battle whether heaven 
conquers sooner or later, sometimes, 
alas ! very much later. The man him- 
self must fulfil the conditions, and as he 
does fulfil the conditions, God does the 
work. Interior intelligence grows in us 
as we strive to fulfil the conditions rightly, 
but intellectual theory without intelligent 
action is destructive. 

It seems strange to know that there 
can be both hell and heaven in the en- 
durance of physical pain, but no one 
who has once seen the growth of a charac- 
ter resulting from the yielding endurance 
of intense physical pain could doubt that 
the man had come through a combat 
and conquered. Physical pain when 
severe and continuous rouses every 
weakness a man has, and in the process 
78 



ABOUT SUFFERING 

of not yielding to the selfish weakness 
and using one's will positively to relax 
from the tension of the pain, we go 
through a fiery furnace and come out 
by just so much clear gold. 

Suffering is a means to an end, and the 
end is that we may gain habitual trust in 
and obedience to God. When we see it as 
such, and use it as such, every time we get 
through and out in the fresh air and the 
open, we see with new clearness that for 
suffering and its cleansing power we can 
only "thank God", and again we see that 
man must be guided through suffering 
to reach the higher place where there 
is no suffering. Only so can a man be 
truly human, and to be truly human is 
to be truly angelic. 



79 



CHAPTER 6 

The Power of Cleanness 

IT seems, when you think of it, ex- 
ceedingly strange that a man or a 
woman should prefer to breathe foul 
air rather than fresh air should prefer 
it ! It seems equally strange that any 
man should be willing to have his mind 
smeared with dirt, with filth, that is 
notoriously vitiating and a notorious 
breeder of disease. It is more strange 
when we realize that no one, not even 
the vicious, when you question directly, 
has the slightest doubt but that it is 
good to have a clean mind. Indeed, I 
have seen men whose habits were low 
and evil seek the refreshment of others 
whose minds were clean, and enjoy a 
real sense of relief when their ugly ad- 
80 



THE POWER OF CLEANNESS 

vances were repulsed with decision by 
those to whom they were made. 

I know a man a soldier who 
found himself necessarily placed with a 
number of other men who were vicious 
in habit and loose and low in their 
language. This man kept himself free 
and clear from the bad air generated by 
his companions, not at all taking the 
attitude of a prude, but freely con- 
fessing that he preferred cleanness to 
uncleanness. He preferred fresh air to 
foul. He had a healthy hatred of their 
low ways, and his hatred was intelligent, 
not mere wholesome ignorance. This 
man was made fun of, he was scouted, 
every loose epithet that could be thrown 
at him was thrown, at intervals. And 
as his hatred of their foul air was both 
intelligent and wholesome, he had no 
wish to stir up more foul air by retali- 
ation or by getting indignant. He even 
81 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

knew that any apparent effort on his 
part to reform any one or all of the men 
about him would tend to make things 
worse ; so he simply went his way, at- 
tended to his duty, was always healthy 
and strong and ready for work and un- 
swervingly courteous. One day, to his 
very great surprise, one of the men who 
had been throwing stones at him, after 
standing next him for a time in a piece 
of work that had been assigned to both, 
said: "I wish you knew my brother; 
he is your kind, and I might as well tell 
you perhaps you would like to know 
- there is not a man in this company 
who does not respect you." Such a re- 
mark as that coming from one of the 
loosest of the set took my friend's breath 
away. He could only say "thank you" 
and that was enough ; neither of the men 
wanted to talk about it. "But I tell 
you what it is," said my friend to me, 
82 



THE POWER OF CLEANNESS 

"every man has the love of cleanness 
in him, if he will only have sense enough 
to find it and to stay there." 

Cassio says, "O God, that men should 
put an enemy in their mouths to steal 
away their brains." With what greater 
force could a man say, "O God, that 
men should pollute Thy creative power 
and thus destroy their lives." 

The creative power the creative 
power that is the power that men 
and women profane and pervert in their 
loose and wanton attraction for one 
another, and the selfish, destructive mis- 
use they make of it. The perversion 
of the Creative Power ! That is why 
such perversion leads to the lowest 
hell. That it leads to hell through 
roads that seem pleasant and delightful, 
that it leads to hell sometimes with 
such force, with apparent vigor, is be- 
cause it is the perversion of so great a 

83 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

power. The opposite to the lowest hell 
is the highest heaven. The Creative 
Power is not only centered in the sexual 
relations of men and women, it is every- 
where, for wherever life is there it must 
be ; it is in all living things, and it is 
God's greatest power for use. If we 
yield to its perversions, we are lost, but 
if we respect and obey its law with an 
intelligent, prayerful spirit, then we 
bring ourselves to where the Father of 
Life Himself can guide us, and can keep 
us in the paths of wholesome and con- 
structive living in all directions. Then 
a man's or a woman's mind can be opened 
to see the truth that 

"If any two creatures grew into one, 
They would do more than the world has 

done : 

Though each apart were never so weak, 
Ye vainly through the world should seek 
For the knowledge and the might 
Which in such union grew their right" 

84 



THE POWER OF CLEANNESS 

This is the ideal of marriage, and no man 
and woman could grow into one while 
either or both were indulging their own 
selfishness. And the very worst indul- 
gence of our own selfishness is misusing 
and perverting for our own pleasure 
the Lord's creative power. 

Witness one great proof of this fact 
that such misuse never brings permanent 
satisfaction. It leads on and on and 
on to satiety and to destruction. It 
is destructive, dissipating and rotting in 
its effect. "Rotting" I use that word 
advisedly. The folly of man in abusing 
the constructive power of the creative 
life, and perverting it to all that 
is destructive would seem impossible 
if we did not know well the blind- 
ing, pushing, overwhelming power of 
man's selfishness when once it has 
gathered momentum. In sexual temp- 
tation, to " conquer beginnings " is more 

85 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

helpful than anything else; in conquer- 
ing beginnings our eyes are opened to 
see the wonderful beauty and power for 
Use in God's creative life. Our hearts are 
opened to a deep and deeper reverence 
for that life, and when once the happy 
sense of God's fresh air comes to us, 
though our first sense of it may be ever so 
Taint, we could no more pervert it than 
we could dash an innocent baby against 
the stones. 

The power of a clean sexual life is 
shown graphically in Kipling's "Brush- 
wood Boy." The "Boy" was sent into 
the wilderness with a detachment of 
bullies with the hope that he might lick 
them into shape, which he did ; and 
they returned in a state of order that 
amazed the other officers, "singing 
the praises of their lieutenant." 

"'How did you do it, young man?' 
the adjutant asked. 
86 



THE POWER OF CLEANNESS 

'"Oh, I sweated the beef off of 'em, 
and then I sweated some muscle on to 
'em. It was rather a lark.' 

"'If that's your way of lookin' at it, 
we can give you all the larks you want. 
Young Davies isn't feelin' quite fit, and 
he's next for detachment duty. Care to 
go for him ? ' 

" ' Sure he wouldn't mind ? I don't 
want to shove myself forward, you 
know.' 

"' You needn't bother on Davies's ac- 
count. We'll give you the sweepin's of 
the coops, and you can see what you 
can make of 'em.' 

"'All right,' said Cottar. 'It's better 
fun than loafin' about cantonments.' 

"'Rummy thing,' said the adjutant, 
after Cottar had returned to the wilder- 
ness with twenty other devils worse 
than the first; 'if Cottar only knew it, 
half the women in the station would 

87 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

give their eyes confound 'em ! to 
have the young un in tow.' ' 

But Cottar didn't know it, and he 
did not want to know it, and if he had 
known it, he would have paid no atten- 
tion to it. For women of that sort had 
no attraction for Cottar, and there was 
only one woman who meant anything to 
him, beside his mother, and at this time 
he did not even know her except in 
his dreams. 

To be sure, Cottar was born whole- 
some and healthy -minded ; he had no 
temptation to be unclean. His use of 
God's creative power to build up men 
came to him naturally, and his rev- 
erence for the one woman made him 
look at all other women from her point 
of view only. The consequence was 
that he was a heartily good and true 
friend to all women because of his love 
and reverence for the one. 
88 



THE POWER OF CLEANNESS 

It is possible for a man, not like Cot- 
tar, but with fierce temptations, to rec- 
ognize their destructive power and to 
conquer beginnings, so that the Cre- 
ative force will come to him only for 
its best use. Such a man could have 
even greater power than Cottar, for he 
would be using it with deeper intelli- 
gence, and his understanding and hatred 
of the destructive power of evil would 
have made him impregnable. He might 
find the one woman and he might not, 
but he would always be ready for her. 

Cottar, naturally, never guessed the 
fact that it was the cleanness of his own 
mind that made it possible for him to 
transmit his power to the men he was 
given to train. A man who had felt 
the fierceness of temptation and who 
had conquered would understand and 
would prove himself a ruler of men 
amid more difficult surroundings. 
89 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

Sexual attraction is the creative power. 
It is good and true and right when it is 
not misused and when it is the servant 
of a pure heart and a clean mind. It is 
hellish when it is not. Imagine not 
holding the creative power as sacred, 
and playing with it as if it were some- 
thing amusing, something of our own 
given us for our own selfish pleasure ! 
Worse still, think of polluting it, pollut- 
ing ourselves with its brutal misuse, and 
polluting at the same time another fel- 
low being ! 

It is hard to imagine a man, who has 
a mother whom he has cared for at all, 
being willing to destroy the life of an- 
other woman or to take his share in 
such mutual destruction. There are 
brutes, or, one might better say, men 
lower than brutes, whose minds are 
so defiled that they cannot see what 
cleanness means. Chastity is literally 
90 



THE POWER OF CLEANNESS 

unknown to them. Then there are other 
men and women to whom chastity is a 
negative thing. It is simply not doing 
what one is tempted to do because one 
has been taught that it is wrong. Or 
not doing what one is tempted to do be- 
cause it is a breeder of disease, and a 
man selfishly wishes to avoid disease. 
Such men may live an entirely unclean 
life with their wives, and consider it 
all right, when in itself it is quite as 
degrading as open prostitution. 

It is the positive power of chastity that 
men and women need to learn and need 
to live from. No one can know the full 
power of marriage unless at the same 
time recognizing the positive power of 
chastity. 

It is good to think what a child could 
be, what a foundation of health and 
strength and power for use, and what 
natural freedom from self -consciousness 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

a child could have, born of parents who 
mutually loved and felt the positive 
power of chastity and who reverenced 
with all their hearts the Lord's creative 
power. 

The right relations of all men and 
women lead to unselfish use and to keen 
human perceptions. Such relations 
make a man a man, and a woman a 
woman. 

If men who appreciated that fact 
would at the same time get the con- 
viction that there is no man or woman, 
no matter how low, who has not some- 
where inside a conscious or unconscious 
longing for positive chastity, and would 
aim to arouse that longing in their com- 
panions first by their own uprightness, 
the result of such effort would be more 
often successful than one might think. 
Chastity is normal to all men who are 
not being ruled "by their own selfishness. 
92 



CHAPTER 7 
Shell Shock 1 

THE laws that apply to the power 
of gaining relief from shell shock 
apply equally to gaining relief 
from all strain, whatever may be the 
cause. Therefore, if in this chapter I 
seem to wander from the immediate 
subject, it is because the universal ap- 
plication of the habits which relieve men 

l " Although the term 'shell-shock' has been applied to a 
group of affections, many of which cannot strictly be desig- 
nated as 'shock', and into the causation of which the effect of 
the explosion of shells is merely one of many exciting factors, 
the term has now come to possess a more or less definite sig- 
nificance in official documents and current conversation . . . 
therefore it is to be understood as a popular but inadequate 
title for all those mental effects of war experience which are 
sufficient to incapac tate a man from the performance of his 
military duties." "Shell-Shock" by G. Elliott Smith, Dean 
of the Faculty of Medicine in London, and T. H. Pear, Lec- 
turer in Experimental Psychology London. 

93 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

from all strain would enlighten the reader 
more on the one subject of relief from 
shell shock. 

Shell shock is a sudden sharp concus- 
sion to the nerves and muscles which 
seriously impedes the circulation in both. 
The fright which naturally accompanies 
such a shock whether conscious or 
unconscious increases the strain and 
arouses in the imagination ideas which 
again react upon the nerves and tend^ 
still further to impede the circulation, 
thus retaining and increasing the effects 
of the first shock. 

Is there any way by which the effect 
of shell shock can be eased ? Yes. There 
is a very distinct way. A man can learn 
to yield to or loosen the strain produced 
by the shock, so that it will go through 
him and out of him, leaving him, of 
course, with a sense of great fatigue, but 
nothing worse. 

94 



SHELL SHOCK 

Let me illustrate : suppose a rubber 
ball were thrown at a wall made of solid 
stone. The ball would rebound, and the 
solid stone would have vibrated a very 
tiny bit. Then suppose a cannon ball 
were thrown against the wall ; there 
would be less rebound and the wall 
would be shaken. Again, suppose a 
shell were to break near the wall ; the 
wall then would be shattered to pieces. 

Now let us suppose a fog so dense that 
it has the appearance of a stone wall. 
A man throws a ball against it, and ex- 
pects the ball to rebound, but instead, 
it goes through the fog, the fog closes 
over it, the ball disappears, and there is 
the apparent stone wall, intact. An- 
other man tries it with a cannon ball 
and the same thing occurs : the cannon 
ball disappears, and there is the wall, 
as if nothing had happened. Then a 
shell comes along; it bursts, there is 

95 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

a terrific commotion, and when the com- 
motion has calmed down, there is the 
wall of fog, safe as ever. 

We can make of our nerves just that 
kind of wall when we learn to yield 
to or drop resistance to shell shock. 

The stone wall resists the shock of 
ball or shell, and therefore is weakened 
or shattered, according to the sharpness 
of the stroke, while the wall of fog 
simply lets the force go through it. So 
it is with the nerves : if the man resists, 
he suffers from the shock; if he yields, 
and lets its effects go through his nerves 
and out of them, his recovery is certain. 

There can, of course, be no actual 
preventive of shell shock, but recovery 
may be greatly hastened and much suf- 
fering saved by an intelligent under- 
standing and application of this prin- 
ciple. 

The reason for yielding, with the 
96 



SHELL SHOCK 

will, and dropping all superfluous ten- 
sion is to open the channels of circulation 
of the body, and get the refreshing and 
curative power which always comes with 
healthy circulation. If one yielded and 
relaxed abnormally, the effect would be 
toward a certain flabbiness which would 
impede the circulation as much as strain. 
The idea is to relax to the point of equi- 
librium. 

With any shock of pain, or sense of 
fear or anxiety, there is always a certain 
amount of nervous and muscular ten- 
sion, which is sympathetically increased 
by tension all over the body. This ten- 
sion is, of course, increased nerve strain, 
and by impeding the circulation, in- 
creases the pain, whether it be a little 
or a big pain, and so interferes with 
nature's normal process of health. For 
instance, if in pain or fear you find your 
hands clenched, your throat held tight, 
97 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

your tongue cleaving to the roof of your 
mouth, or your muscles all over your 
body drawn and tight, by the intelligent 
use of your will you can drop this ten- 
sion, thus reducing the pain to its mini- 
mum ; or, if in fear, in many cases get- 
ting rid of it altogether. There are 
many other finer forms of tension ac- 
companying these that you cannot ob- 
serve because they are too minute, and 
these may be dropped in sympathy with 
the other kind. 

Putting all your attention on the 
effort to yield distracts the mind, and 
the distraction is at the same time doing 
positive work toward health and free- 
dom and a normal control of the body, 
whereas other distraction leaves the body 
at the mercies of the strain as soon as 
the distraction is over. The Japanese 
have the secret in jiujitsu, or conquering 
by yielding. They use it to a powerful 
98 



SHELL SHOCK 

extent in dealing with their opponents, 
whether physically or in argument. 
They yield positively, with their minds 
steadily aimed toward the point to be 
gained ; thus by never meeting force 
with force, and never for one instant 
relaxing the steadiness of their aim, they 
reach their goal, often to the great sur- 
prise of those who oppose them. 

Thus one can often overcome disease 
by yielding, that is, by not resisting it 
in an impatient or fretful spirit. Nature 
always tends toward health, and if in 
disease we do not resist, she does her 
work and gets her wholesome way. 
Whereas, if we resist, we stop the clear- 
ing-out process of nature through the 
circulation, and induce inflammation, 
where yielding to gain an open circulation 
would, as we have said, put inflamma- 
tion out of the question, by leaving the 
channels open. 

99 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

But how can we gain this power of 
yielding if we are suddenly in a tight 
place, where yielding would relieve us, 
and if we had never given our atten- 
tion to yielding before ? Of course there 
we should have a great advantage if we 
had given our attention to yielding, 
if we had learned to give up the whole 
body and to drop the strain of every 
care when we. went to sleep at night, 
to lie as heavily as a cat does when she 
is sound asleep, and if we could have 
learned throughout the day to keep those 
muscles that were not in use quiet and 
free, and to use the muscles that were 
working with only the amount of effort 
necessary. All this can be learned so 
that yielding proves to be of great and 
increasing power in preventing strain and 
bringing health. 

Suppose, however, one had never had 
the power of yielding brought to one's 
100 



SHELL SHOCK 

attention in any way whatever; if he 
even gets a hint of it where the need 
is, the yielding itself, in its proper place, 
is so normal to us that a man with in- 
telligence will catch at the hint and fol- 
low it up, making more and more dis- 
coveries of its power as he uses it. That 
will be the case unless the man is so full 
of his own personal resistance and re- 
bellion that from very perversity he says 
" he will be damned " if he will yield, 
and thus stupidly bites off his own nose. 
Such cases have been. 

So it is with any normal human habit 
which we may use ; if we once get a hint 
of it, and follow that hint intelligently, 
nature is with us and teaches us. 

The process of yielding is not only 
that of loosening the muscles of the 
body, but implies a finer yielding, such 
as we spontaneously go through when 
we relax our minds from tension or 
101 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

excitement of any sort. If a person 
feels an access of temper taking posses- 
sion of his brain, he can greatly help to 
overcome the angry impulse by quietly 
trying to practise this yielding, or loosen- 
ing of the fibers of the brain. It requires 
a persistent will and a little imagination, 
and the power increases with every 
patient and sincere effort. 

As in the case of anger: the effort to 
loosen the fibers of the brain (or what 
seems to us like that) tends to counter- 
act the strain of tension or thickening 
in the brain which is the common effect 
of "shell shock", and to which its in- 
jurious consequences are due. 

Many people argue that anger, jeal- 
ousy, revenge, or any other form of 
hatred can be, and often is, a decided 
stimulant to action. So are whiskey 
and various forms of very strong drugs. 
The reaction from the whiskey and the 
1 02 



SHELL SHOCK 

Ougs is always destructive and weak- 
ening to the will ; the reaction from the 
various forms of hatred is equally de- 
structive, but slower because more subtle. 
It is a mistake to think that these 
selfish and destructive passions are nor- 
mal to men and can be legitimately 
used to stimulate fighting. A selfish 
man will often fight from the stimulant 
of selfish passions when otherwise he 
would be too selfish to fight at all, but 
that does not argue for their normality. 

A man who fights from the love of 
right and obedience to principle is likely 
to have more self-command and a cooler 
head than one whose energy is stimu- 
ulated with personal selfishness. His 
vigor is under better guidance, and 
therefore he wastes it less. 

The manliness required to face your 
own pride and fear and the humility that 
it involves, although it may some- 
103 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

times be accompanied by temporary 
physical breakdown, constitutes a 
deeper and more lasting strength than 
merely physical and nervous strength 
when not accompanied by true self- 
knowledge. 

A man who has the moral and spiritual 
strength to face and rout, by God's 
help, --the enemies within himself is 
more likely to win out against his phys- 
ical enemies (other things being equal) 
than the man who is acting in the blind- 
ness of selfish pride or selfish passion. 

Such a man, by realizing their de- 
structive force yields up the tension of 
his selfish pride or passion in order that 
the Lord may conquer within him, and 
through such divine conquest he receives 
strength of mind and clearness of soul, 
while his physical nature is saved from 
strain. If a man can give up the ten- 
sion which always accompanies selfish 
104 



SHELL SHOCK 

pride, he has tested the yielding at its 
root, from which the yielding to shell 
shock, or any other severe suffering, is 
a natural derivative and compar- 
atively easy. 

I should like to use one more example 
to illustrate the work to be done in 
dropping the effects of shell shock, if we 
have not done the work thoroughly the 
first time, which, I imagine, would sel- 
dom happen. Imagine a great length 
of rubber pipe arranged to carry a strong 
force of water to a distance. Now sup- 
pose the pipe should get twisted and 
knotted. The strain on the pipe when 
this pressure of water came against the 
twists and the knots might be very great 
great enough in places to burst its 
substance, no matter how strong it was 
in the beginning. 

This is a clear illustration of what 
any intense nerve strain might do to 
105 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

our bodies. In the case of shock or any 
kindred thing, the heart beats more 
rapidly and with greater force. There- 
fore the blood pressure is more intense. 
Imagine the effect upon a human body 
with the pressure of blood increased 
many times, and the blood channels 
impeded by what we may call the knots 
and twists of the tightening and stiffen- 
ing of the nerves ! Such interferences in 
the circulation are often continuous after 
shell shock, and are extreme in the case 
of severe wounds or over-fatigue. If in 
such cases the man knew how to use 
his will to yield, and insisted upon re- 
laxing all through his body, the result 
of opening and quieting the circulation 
would at first be surprising, and as the 
man got accustomed to the good effect 
of yielding, the tendency to yield would 
come to him as a matter of course when- 
ever he needed it. And let us hope 
1 06 



SHELL SHOCK 

that having enjoyed the good effects 
himself, he would be eager to share the 
knowledge with his fellows. 

Sometimes one is suffering so that 
yielding seems entirely impossible. 
Such times are special opportunities for 
strengthening the will, for in cases like 
this one must insist steadily and per- 
sistently until "the impossible" has been 
accomplished. Where the suffering is 
so intense, and you begin to try to 
yield, your mind may relax its vigilance 
a thousand times, and the tension of 
pain will assert itself; but you must 
bring your mind back to the yielding 
each one of the thousand times, and the 
thousand and first time you may ac- 
complish it. And when once the yield- 
ing is acquired, and the right habit is 
established, a man can see that the re- 
lief is worth all the work he has given to 
gain it and more. 
107 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

The normal thing for our nerves to do is 
to yield to the shock, and so to recover their 
habitual stability and normal circulation in 
the soonest possible time. The elasticity 
of even moderately healthy nerves is 
really splendid, if we let them work ac- 
cording to nature's way. 

It is the resistance to the shock, and 
a man's holding such resistance instead of 
dropping it, which causes the suffering. 

Of course there is a certain amount of 
resistance that must come ; shell shock 
is sudden, and resistance is immediate, 
and this principle applies to yielding to 
the after effects, which yielding can be- 
gin almost at once, if a man can recover 
himself sufficiently to get his will focussed 
upon it. 

Two things are to be noted especially : 

the first is that it takes a great deal 

more will to yield than to tighten one's 

self up and push through an obstacle; 

1 08 



SHELL SHOCK 

the second is this : to know that the 
very force of will and concentration 
necessary to get the habit of a normal 
yielding strengthens and increases the 
ability of the mind for quick and exact 
action. It seems to be like the centrif- 
ugal and the centripetal motions of the 
earth the one needs the other. 

True concentration is in reality drop- 
ping everything that interferes. There- 
fore, healthy yielding up of things we 
do not want strengthens the power of 
concentration on the things that we do 
want. We are depositing a force in 
our subconsciousness which will aid us 
in all directions, especially, as was said, 
in quietness and exactness of action. 

If one persists in yielding, and loosen- 
ing, every time there is good cause for 
it, each time the normal yielding grows 
easier, and the good effect is better and 
is more quickly felt. 
109 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

Thus we can see that to reduce shell 
shock to the minimum, and eventually 
to be free from its evil and painful ef- 
fects altogether, all that is needed is 
a steady, quiet and hard-working will 
and a well-focussed common intelligence. 
This war has brought the experience of 
shell shock and many more kindred 
sufferings to our attention, and in con- 
sequence all such suffering may now 
give rise to remedies which in the future 
may lighten or prevent pain, for which 
before there was supposed to be no 
remedy. That is, it may lead us all to 
the habit of managing our nerves more 
normally. To-day, if these elements 
should be carefully considered, and men 
taught as part of their regular military 
training to conquer the evil effects 
of shell shock, it might add greatly to 
the efficiency of our army and perhaps 
even to the armies of our allies, 
no 



SHELL SHOCK 

Let me explain again : the vibrations 
of the bursting of the shell are so in- 
tense and hit the body with such tre- 
mendous force that all the resistance in 
the man reacts against it. This re- 
action is so immeasurably greater than 
anything that any man has ever felt 
before that of course the effect is, so to 
speak, to "mess everything up" in the 
man's physiology, to disturb his cir- 
culation beyond belief, especially that of 
the brain, and to start a terrible turmoil 
within him. No wonder a man feels 
beside himself in a state like that. And 
when the temptation comes to take all 
this mess into his mind, as indeed it 
always does, unless the man has learned 
better, the mess, having been accepted 
by the mind, takes painful forms in the 
imagination and reacts upon the body ; 
the body again reacts back upon the 
mind, and so it goes increasing the 
in 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

suffering many, many times more than 
is necessary. 

But how is a man going to know 
enough to detach himself from his sensa- 
tions after a shock like that, so that 
nature can remedy the evil effects of 
the shock with the certain rapidity 
with which she always heals and cures, 
provided she is given half a chance? 

As we have said before, nature al- 
ways tends toward health, and she tends 
toward health so heartily and whole- 
somely that at times her cures may 
seem miraculous. They are not mirac- 
ulous, they are in nature's own order, 
if we give her ample opportunity. The 
trouble is that we have not been in the 
habit of giving her such opportunity ; 
neither have our grandfathers nor our 
great-grandfathers formed that habit. 
Therefore, we have nothing in our in- 
heritance to help us to cooperate with 
112 



SHELL SHOCK 

nature. But even though we have not 
inherited normal habits of obedience to 
the laws of nature, they are working 
just the same ; and we, all of us, are 
entirely able to learn to obey them so 
that now to-day our ancestors to 
the contrary notwithstanding, we may 
learn to drop everything that inter- 
feres with our obedience, and so gain 
the habit of obeying as a matter of 
course. 

\ What better time could there be for 
men to learn how to get the benefit of 
nature's perfect work than now, when 
we are immersed in a war for the right, 
and need the best help of every man 
and woman in the country? 

A man gets shell shock ; he takes the 
shock into his mind that is, he allows 
his mind to be affected by the disturb- 
ance in his body. If he is a sensitive 
man, "taking it into his mind" rouses 



his imagination, and all sorts of nervous 
horrors are conjured up within him, in 
just the shapes that could torture him 
most. His mind with his imagination, 
as I have said before, reacts back on 
to his body, and so they play back and 
forth, back and forth, like dogs in a 
fight, until the man, of course, must be 
sent to the hospital, with months, per- 
haps years, of suffering before him, and 
his usefulness to his country gone for 
some time, at least. 

All that action and reaction was not 
the man's fault, not in the least. The 
bravest man in the world could suffer 
in just that way. Probably the bravest 
man in the world would be the very one 
to suffer most keenly, for a man who is 
truly brave is always sensitive. The 
fault is in the man's being ignorant of the 
simplest laws of psychology and physi- 
ology, and not having been trained to 
114 



SHELL SHOCK 

use his will and his intelligence in the 
right direction. 

Any man who will accept the truth 
can be trained to detach himself from 
pain, enough not to "take it into his 
mind", and so to let nature do her best 
to heal and to cure him. The pain may 
seem to be no less severe, but the pro- 
cess of cure is immeasurably more rapid. 

The habit of "joking" one's self away 
from suffering, which is so prevalent 
among our men, is an effort in that 
direction, but there come times when 
joking does not work. Joking, useful as 
it may be sometimes, has the tendencies 
of an opiate; too much of it weakens 
the mind and then fails in its power of 
seeming to lighten the pain. Then 
again, as continual joking kills a sense 
of humor, a man by using it as an "opi- 
ate" is losing one of the finest qualities 
of mind that there is. The fact that 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

there comes a time when joking palls 
seems to prove that joking is only tem- 
porary distraction, and is destructive 
rather than constructive in its effect, if 
carried too far. Isn't it better for men 
to learn to work according to law, and 
to use the joking perhaps we might say 
as an occasional condiment? Loosening 
the tension of pain, which is the normal 
method of detaching us from it, never 
fails never under any circumstances 
whatever. 

Singing on the march uses the lungs, 
occupies the mind happily, and the 
result is the same as healthy yielding ; 
it opens the channels of circulation. So 
it is with any form of wholesome ex- 
ercise not taken in excess. The in- 
creased circulation takes away dead tis- 
sue, and with it all unnecessary fatigue. 

In every action there should be 
equal and responsive reaction. When 
116 



SHELL SHOCK 

nerves and muscles are used beyond the 
point where such reaction would be 
naturally demanded, then when the time 
comes for a man to give up and rest, the 
use of his will to yield is simply an in- 
telligent assistance to nature, which is 
the privilege of the human as opposed to 
the brutal mind. 

It will be noticed always that over- 
fatigue brings with it a tendency to 
abnormal tension, whereas in normal 
fatigue we unconsciously yield when 
the time comes to rest. Therefore, if 
we use our wills to drop the tension con- 
sequent on abnormal fatigue, we are 
working with nature so she can more 
quickly bring about the reaction of rest. 

Distraction, merely as distraction, is 
apt to have a drugging effect ; the 
tendency to abnormal strain is still in 
the subconsciousness, and when the ef- 
fect of the distraction wears off, that 
117 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

which can impede the circulation and 
cause all the consequent suffering comes 
to the surface at once; the suffering is 
increased, and the will is weakened. 
Whereas, if a man has once faced a 
cause of pain in the right way, and then 
turns his attention elsewhere, that healthy 
form of interest and concentration gives 
nature an opportunity, for which, one 
might say, she is always watching, 
to jump in and do her own work, and 
when a man returns from his temporary 
interest, he finds himself better. The 
same rule holds with unhappy impres- 
sions and associations. 

It is well known that when muscles 
are strained beyond their natural en- 
durance, their recovery is proverbially 
slow. So it is with nerves. Therefore, 
the use of an intelligent will in yielding 
to the strain, is a great asset, as it is 
an active cooperation with nature in 
118 



SHELL SHOCK 

reestablishing the normal circulation, 
and normal action of the functions. If 
one had weak legs, one would try not to 
strain them where it was possible to 
save effort. With nerves it is the more 
necessary, as they are the background of 
all effort, mental or physical, and to 
have quiet nerves would mean much 
greater efficiency and less detrimental 
reaction. It is important to remember 
that the nerves touch the soul on one 
side and the body on the other ; that is, 
they are the connecting link between 
the ma?i and his body. Where their 
action is normal, they need not be in- 
terfered with, but where abnormal, one 
must learn to control them from one's own 
will. Strained nerves, which sometimes 
come from the deepest inheritance, are 
often falsely associated with weakness of 
character, but for a man to learn to yield 
to such strain and control the nerves 
119 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

from the spirit gives him the greatest 
and most intelligent power he can have. 
Therefore, the compensation for such 
work cannot be computed, and "weak 
nerves", taken from this point of view, 
can be the means by which a man finds 
himself, and discovers that when he learns 
to deal rightly with his weak nerves, the 
process is a deep source of strength. 

"Don't take it into your mind; don't 
take it into your mind!" If that in- 
junction could be repeated over and over 
with quiet, steady conviction, not only 
to the men suffering from shell shock, but 
to men wounded and ill as well, --the 
healthy influence of the result of such 
training would be inestimable. 

There is one thing more I should like 
especially to mention, to which this 
same healthy principle can be applied : 
the terrible scenes that the men who 
have not been hurt at all suffer intensely 
1 20 



from seeing the suffering and the 
lacerated state of other men. If I say 
"Don't take it into your mind" and 
"yield to the strain of it", I mean deny 
its power over your mind, while, so far 
as possible, you try to loosen the fibers of 
the brain and body. And I should like 
to add that refusing to take such scenes 
into your mind, or to let your imagi- 
nation dwell on them, opens the human 
sympathies and enables you to be of 
inestimably greater use. If you refuse 
to take the horrible sights into your 
mind by closing your mind against them, 
that will harden you and blunt your 
sympathies ; but getting rid of such 
impressions by persistently yielding and 
so dropping them from your brain opens 
your sympathies and enables you to 
put your mind heartily to the details of 
use to the sufferers. 

Yield, yield, yield. Concentrate to 
121 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

yield, and yield to concentrate. That is 
the whole of it, and no one knows the 
power thus to be gained until he has 
tried it. Power which is useful in many 
more ways than those I have mentioned 
here. But these that I have been writing 
about are ways where so much intense 
suffering may be prevented, and so much 
new strength gained that the need for 
dispelling all ignorance in this line is 
excessive and immediate. 

The human body is meant to obey 
the mind. The human mind should be 
equally obedient to a law-abiding will. 
When men once know the truth of this 
fact, they will begin to awake to the 
great power and responsibility that is per- 
mitted to us in the gift of our free wills. 

When the will does its work in ac- 
cordance with the laws of nature, which 
are God's laws, it always has the power 
of those laws in reserve. 
122 



CHAPTER 8 

The Will to Use the Bayonet 

IT is simple to see at once how dif- 
ficult, how almost impossible, 
it would be for a civilized and good 
man to thrust his bayonet into the body 
of another human being and maim or 
kill him. The fear of hurting another, 
and still more, the fear of killing another, 
is so innate in the best of us that the 
very timidity draws the bayonet back 
when we would thrust it forward. 

In war such timidity must not only be 
entirely conquered, but it must give 
way entirely give way entirely to the 
courage to kill. A man must have 
roused within himself the will to use the 
bayonet, and that will must grow in 
123 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

skill and vigor, if the man is to do his 
share in conquering the enemies of his 
country. 

There are two ways in which this will 
to use the bayonet may be roused. It 
can be roused through an appeal to the 
evil passions of the men, or through an 
appeal to their good passions. The first 
is destructive and may fail at any time 
through some selfish weakness which 
pricks the evil passions and deprives 
them of power. Not only that, but 
think of the result after the war ! 
When a man, having killed one human 
creature after another from a sort of 
general revenge and hatred which have 
been roused in him, finds no more use 
for his power of killing, what then ? 
Is hell going to quiet down in such a 
man, and give place to heaven within 
him, without fierce struggles in the man 
himself, and maybe horrible mistakes ? 
124 



THE WILL TO USE THE BAYONET 

In some men will hell ever leave them 
in this world, having once possessed 
every fiber of their bodies in a process 
of what was to them wholesale murder, 
whatever it may have been in itself? 

If war must be, and at the present 
day it seems as if so long as the Prus- 
sians remain unconquered, it must be; 
if the whole world is not yet civilized 
enough to settle the questions between 
nations without bloodshed, and so 
long as the Prussian military spirit is 
alive, it is not, it certainly seems as if 
we might make use of war to get a 
greater civilization, so that when peace 
comes, instead of hell being rampant in 
many men, a new strength, a new clear- 
ness, a new power of character will be 
roused in all. 

This is what is done when the "will 
to use the bayonet" is roused and 
strengthened and deeply rooted from 

125 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

the awakening and strengthening of the 
good passions in men. 

"Why," said a British officer, "be- 
fore the war I would not have hurt a 
mouse, and now my whole heart is in 
mowing down as many Germans as I 
can." 

After the war that man, not be- 
cause of what he said, but because of 
what was behind what he said, if he 
survives the war, will go back, or I 
might say, go forward still more to 
where he "would not hurt a mouse." 

Of course there are men who know 
no other language than the language of 
revenge and hatred. Presumably it is of 
such men that the military books tell 
when they say that it is good for a 
soldier to have a mate, that is, one 
especial friend, because if his mate gets 
killed, grief at his loss rouses the man's 
revenge and hatred of the enemy, and he 
126 



THE WILL TO USE THE BAYONET 

fights all the harder. I notice the 
military books do not mention the 
state the man may be in when he has 
ceased from such fighting. Military 
writers put great value upon action, 
and that is right ; it is an absolute 
necessity. But their teaching of action 
will never have in it the possible skill, 
precision, and alertness that it might 
have until equal attention is given to 
reaction. 

Suppose in the midst of vigorous 
action a man's hatred and revenge 
should burn itself out. What would be 
left? Hell that is so active in revenge 
often at some unexpected time cuts off 
its power in order that more evil may 
result. Think of that ! Are we not 
civilized enough as a people at least to 
gradually lead our soldiers to the con 
structive passion of the will to use the 
bayonet ? Those who know no power 
127 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

except that of their evil passions must 
be allowed to fight from those pas- 
sions ; but if their officers are keen 
enough, the privates need not remain 
in that state a state where hell can 
play a trick upon them at any time. 
Hell has no power within us, unless we 
give it power, and if we have given 
power in revenge and hatred, we cannot 
at once withdraw our consent when 
hell chooses to change the force of our 
hatred and revenge into puling, driveling 
weakness. If we are not yet civilized 
enough to be without war, we can at 
least grow civilized enough to cultivate 
the will to use the bayonet from a con- 
structive human power and not a de- 
structive one. 

We do not kill men's souls when we 

kill their bodies. If in war we are so 

possessed, so passionately possessed with 

the right of our own cause, the power of 

128 



THE WILL TO USE THE BAYONET 

that passion carries us, and by means of 
it we kill as many of the enemy as we 
can for the sake of winning in the great- 
est cause for right which we know. If 
every fiber of a man's body and his soul 
is filled with the sense that he is fighting 
for the right and that he must win for 
the right, then the forces of that right 
carry him, they guide his hand, they 
enable him to kill more men in the 
enemies' lines than he possibly could 
otherwise. They sharpen his power of 
quickness and precision and carry him on 
toward victory, and they never desert 
him. As one wise man says, a soldier 
prays before he goes into battle; when 
he is fighting he forgets his prayer, but 
the prayer is with him just the same 
and carries him and guides him. 

What a contrast when one prays to 
the God revealed to us in the character 
of the Lord Jesus Christ or to the made- 
129 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

up idol of the selfish lust for power to 
which the Prussians pray ! The dignity, 
the quiet, the true depth of humility in 
the character of the Lord Jesus Christ 
make it possible for only the best in a 
man to perceive His power, and yet His 
power is the only real power in the 
world or out of it, and of course it is 
the greatest it is the creative power 
of God. 

Let us also think of the way men and 
women are busy in this world, in time of 
" peace," killing, destroying one an- 
other's souls. When that destructive 
power is at work, we find no timidity. 
It works inside, subtly. Sometimes the 
soul-murder is evident, sometimes it is 
not, but it goes on with a cruelty and 
brutality that seems next to impossible to 
one that is observing it. It is interest- 
ing to think that perhaps the right will 
to use the bayonet might open men's 
130 



THE WILL TO USE THE BAYONET 

minds to the hellishness of hating one 
another's souls, and to the destructive 
power of ways by which such hatred 
finds vent. Much in the world that is 
so-called love is nothing but selfish hatred 
because of the selfishness from which it 
starts. 

Now let us look at the possible con- 
structive power when the will to use 
the bayonet is rightly developed. It is 
easy to see that skill is increased by 
coolness or the absence of exciting per- 
sonal emotions, and in the same propor- 
tion, skill must eventually be diminished 
when accompanied by exciting personal 
emotions, which inevitably burn them- 
selves out. 

Think of a surgeon : he must keep 
for his patient a wholesome understand- 
ing sympathy, and yet be unmoved if 
the patient cries out in agony. Through 
such a cry the surgeon must work with 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

steady, delicate skill, not wavering a 
hair's breadth, no matter how the 
patient begs for mercy. The surgeon is 
keeping on in the midst of cries of pain 
to save his patient's life. Would any 
man say that surgeon could do his work 
better if, because of hatred for the man 
he operated on, he enjoyed hurting 
him? The good surgeon is moved by 
enthusiasm for his work, and at the 
root of that enthusiasm is the love for 
preserving men's lives. If ether is im- 
possible, and it is sometimes, that 
very love for preserving men's lives will 
enable the surgeon to work skilfully 
with steady precision and unswerving 
sympathy through a most painful op- 
eration. There are surgeons, doctors, 
and nurses who say they must harden 
themselves, or they could not do their 
work; they say, too, that human sym- 
pathy only pulls them down, because 
132 



THE WILL TO USE THE BAYONET 

they suffer with their patients. I call 
the sympathy that pulls us down pure 
selfishness. If we have real sympathy, 
we must want to serve another. To do 
that intelligently, we must keep a clear 
mind, a quiet head, and an open heart. 
That is what the true surgeon has. 
That is what the soldier must have in 
the will to use the bayonet. 

One can easily imagine a soldier with 
true compassion offering a man a drink 
of water and doing all he could to help 
him to die with less pain when a 
thrust of his bayonet had struck the 
man down. Even more, if it were im- 
possible to stop because of immediate 
use for his bayonet, one can imagine a 
man giving another thrust to kill the 
other at once, rather than to leave him 
to a lingering death. The man who, 
seeing a German officer writhing on a 
barbed wire fence, went forward and 

133 



released him in the midst of German 
shells, was probably a man who 
would have used a bayonet on him and 
on as many others as he could reach, and 
used it with great rapidity, with skill, 
and alertness when in a bayonet fight. 
A man who could use his bayonet with 
the greatest skill would use it always 
with the greatest sense of honor. He 
would, as our friend said, "love to mow 
down Germans", and when he came out 
of the battle, he could heartily and with 
a clear conscience pray for every one 
of their souls. 

The first necessity is for a soldier to 
comprehend the cause for which he is 
fighting ; to comprehend it, to see and 
love the right of it, to know that he is 
fighting for his own deliverance from 
tyranny and the deliverance of his 
nation ; and to love his cause with his 
whole heart is what can arouse in the 

134 



THE WILL TO USE THE BAYONET 

soldier the will to use the bayonet. A 
man may flatter himself in the begin- 
ning of his training that the timidity 
and the pull-backs which he feels in his 
attempt to thrust his bayonet come from 
the kindly sympathy, the human ten- 
derness of his own nature. Let him be 
undeceived as soon as possible. The 
timidity comes from a lack of intelli- 
gence with regard to the motive that 
should be behind the use of every bay- 
onet, and the lack of unselfish love for 
the right in his nation. 

David had the love and the intelli- 
gence when with delicacy, with precision, 
and with the confidence of a great cause 
he flung one of his five smooth stones 
at the head of Goliath and hit him in 
the one spot that could have felled the 
Philistine to the ground. 

"War is hell," so General Sherman 
said, but war is hell only when we let 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

hell fight within us. War is a rough 
and stormy road to heaven when we 
fight from and for the best within us, 
when we fight with all our hearts for 
the sake of peace real peace. 

It takes character to be a soldier, and 
if the growth of skill and power is not 
developing his character it is destroy- 
ing him. One can easily see the truth 
of that after one quiet, steady, com- 
prehensive look. And having seen the 
truth, there is no doubt as to the sort 
of military training most men would 
choose. Every man would love the 
building up of his own soul, the en- 
larging of his own heart. It is only 
weakness and blindness that keep all 
men from working for such constructive 
power. An officer can do much for his men 
who trains them from the highest point of 
view, and the discipline required of such 
an officer would be of the highest kind. 
136 



CHAPTER 9 

Death and Dying 

THERE is a story in an at- 
tractive little book called "The 
Stories Lizzie Told", about a 
little boy who was afraid of dying. 
The boy was so afraid of "dyin"' that 
he used to go out in the fields and cry 
with fear; at different times his crying 
was stopped and he was comforted, 
first by a flower, who whispered to him 
that really it was easy to die, for you 
knew well that you would be alive again 
next spring, and then you would find 
the green grass and the blue sky beauti- 
ful as ever. Then a caterpillar told 
him how beautiful it was to die, because 
you came alive again with wings and 

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NERVES AND THE WAR 

could fly in the air and light on the 
flowers, and you had such a happy 
time. The "little afraid boy" was com- 
forted by all the pleasant stories only 
for a little while, and then the fear 
would come back again, and he would 
cry and suffer just as much, and be 
so disappointed because the fear had not 
gone. One day he was in the fields, 
crying and sobbing, when all at once 
he heard a kind voice above him say, 
"Little boy, little boy, what is the 
matter?" The little boy looked up and 
saw a man with a shining face looking 
down on him. The face was so loving 
and so fatherly that the little boy wanted 
to pour out his trouble to him at once, 
and said in the midst of his tears, "Oh ! 
oh ! I am so afraid of dyin'." And then 
the kind man looked at him steadily, 
and the boy felt new life come into him 
from his loving kindness, and all the 
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DEATH AND DYING 

boy's fear seemed to go as the man an- 
swered, and said, "Why, my little boy, 
you are dead." 

That story has always seemed to me 
to have a deep and true significance. 
For years people thought that when we 
die, we go up and off somewhere beyond 
the sky. I remember a friend quite 
soberly and sincerely looking up into 
the blue sky and saying to me with a 
bright and wholesome smile, "Don't you 
wish you knew what was beyond there ?" 
We had been talking of death, and it 
was plain from what she had previously 
said that "beyond" the sky meant to 
her that is where we go when we die. 
I remember that another woman said 
that her soul was blue, like a blue light, 
and would ooze out of the top of her 
head when she died. It seems strange, 
very strange, when we all know per- 
fectly well that we must die, that many 
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NERVES AND THE WAR 

of us do have no thought at all about it, 
and many more have only extreme and 
ridiculous ideas, and all such ideas are 
especially undefined and without spir- 
itual common sense. 

After all, spiritual common sense is 
at the root of all natural common sense. 
The one can never be really well-founded 
without the other. Then why is it not 
perfectly possible, why not even very 
evident, -- that the other world, the 
world of our souls, is here and now? 
This outside world is in time and space. 
The inside world is not in time and space. 
It is here and now, and whether here is 
China, England, France, Massachusetts, 
or the planet Mars. It is now, whether 
now is to-day, yesterday, or five hundred 
years ago, or a thousand years hence. 

You see, we are so in the habit of 
thinking in time and space that very 
few of us ever consider at all the pos- 
140 



DEATH AND DYING 

sibility of thinking out of it. That is 
a power within us which it seems must 
be almost atrophied for want of use. 
Many people, very many, would not 
even feel interested to consider its pos- 
sibility. And yet, let us think now 
for a minute, have you not been sitting 
next to a man in the same room, and con- 
versing, and felt strongly so far away 
from him that he might as well be at 
one end of the earth and you at the 
other? Have you never thought of a 
near and dear friend who was a long 
way off in space, and felt him, never- 
theless, to be so near that you could have 
taken hold of his hand? What does 
that prove ? Does it not prove that 
it is the soul of the man we are near to 
or far from ? In the case of feeling at a 
great distance while to all appearance 
in the same room, the space between 
the souls was very great so great that 
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NERVES AND THE WAR 

there could be no possible way of com- 
municating. In the case of feeling near, 
although our friend was at the other 
side of the earth, outside space was 
annihilated, because of there being com- 
paratively no inside distance between 
the friends. 

Outside space is fixed and dead in 
itself. Inside space is volatile and alive. 

If one considers that question care- 
fully, throwing away personal or in- 
herited prejudices, it appeals strongly to 
the rational mind. And if we listen to 
such appeal and let it guide us, we soon 
come to appreciate heartily that it can 
be nay, indeed, it must be true that 
at the death of the body we simply go 
inside. That is where the little boy was 
when he looked up and saw the strong, 
shining face of the man, and heard his 
quiet, loving voice telling him, "Why, 
little boy, you are dead !" 
142 



DEATH AND DYING 

That is what our Lord meant when he 
said, : 'Ye cannot say lo here and lo 
there, for behold the Kingdom of Heaven 
is within you." What else could he 
have meant ? 

The trouble is, our finer and interior 
perceptions are so befogged by the dust 
of this world, its selfish interests, its 
selfish anxieties, its selfish speculations, 
that we cannot possibly see clearly 
enough to understand inside things nor 
even to perceive them. Why, how many 
people are there who keep quiet, really 
quiet, without and within, for one hour 
every day? When people have formed 
no habit of inside quiet at all, how can 
they by any possibility expect to get 
an inside perspective? How can they 
get in the very slightest touch with the 
inside? Why, such people are never 
really quiet when they sleep. 

I said above that it seemed strange 

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NERVES AND THE WAR 

that when we all know we must die, 
we seem, most of us, to consider dying 
so little. But is it any more strange 
than the fact that when we all know 
that selfishness is the most destructive 
element in the world, we do not habitu- 
ally realize its poisonous power and shun 
it in consequence? Inside selfishness is 
more subtle and more poisonous, and yet 
few have any sense of their interior self- 
seeking because they have not even 
ceased to be selfish outside. Strange, 
isn't it, that we would be frightened and 
seek no end of physicians and cures if 
we discovered our physical systems to 
be full of poison, and yet so many of 
us go about with rank poison in our 
spiritual systems, and at times really 
enjoy it ! 

There is just the point I most care to 
make with regard to death and dying. 
If "ye cannot say lo here or lo there, 
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DEATH AND DYING 

for the Kingdom of Heaven is within 
you", how can any one get really sen- 
sitive to that Kingdom of Heaven when 
he is not sensitive to the dust and fog 
of selfish desires within himself that 
exist so entirely between him and heaven ? 
If such dust and fog and selfish, material 
way of living make it impossible for a 
man to be sensitive to the world of spirits 
about us, much more would selfishness 
dull his sensitiveness to Heaven itself. 

If we want to sense the inside, we must 
live unselfishly from the inside. No one 
ever found real spiritual intelligence by 
speculating intellectually about the other 
world. Sometimes I wonder if the So- 
ciety for Psychical Research, with all its 
many discoveries, has done anything to 
open the reality of the other world to the 
people in this one. Certainly it seems 
as if it had done only harm, when you 
hear a man without delicacy and without 

145 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

reverence discussing the life after death. 
Fortunately, there are some in this 
Society who have both delicacy and 
reverence. 

Many men have discussed spiritual 
questions intellectually. Many men are 
glib in expressing their belief that there 
is a life after death, and give clear and 
well-considered reasons why. When you 
hear such men talking wisely, and what 
they say is often very wise, they make the 
truth evident ; but, when you hear them 
talking with wisdom from their heads, 
and know that in their hearts and their 
lives they are thoughtless of others, and 
self-indulgent themselves, you see clearly 
that when they come into the world 
where "by their fruits ye shall know 
them", they will probably have to lose 
their apparent wisdom and be taught 
again before in their spirits they grow to 
be wise men ready for their eternal use. 
146 



DEATH AND DYING 

An highly intellectual man may be 
an idiot with regard to his soul. 

To consider death, to understand death, 
to have any perception of the beauty and 
power of so-called death, we must go 
deeper into life. There is no death 
really but the death of self, and the death 
of self we all ought to be working for. 
As the self is destroyed, God builds our 
souls. "Except a corn of wheat fall 
into the ground and die, it produceth 
no fruit, but if it die, it produces much 
fruit." 

Just think how selfish we are with 
regard to death when a near and dear 
friend goes before us. If the friend 
were going to an interesting foreign 
country, even though we might miss 
him sadly, we would think of his side of 
the change, and although we had never 
seen the country to which he was going, 
we would be alive with interest for his 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

sake. But-, you say, in that case we 
would receive letters. Yes, I know that 
is to be thought of. But how do we 
know but that if we had the same un- 
selfish interest in our friend's experiences 
if he left us because his body died, that 
then we might not have messages from 
him, messages that could and would be 
more helpful to us in our work here than 
any letters that could come from any 
earthly land ? To get such messages, 
we must learn to be quiet, trustful, and 
unselfish. Otherwise we could not be 
sure that we heard them clearly. 

I know a woman who lost a very dear 
relative, one who had some outside ways 
and habits that often troubled my friend 
very much, but whose interior instinct 
was and always had been positively use- 
ful to her. After the relative had died 
and those external habits were out of 
sight and presumably left with the body, 
148 



DEATH AND DYING 

my friend felt so strongly and so con- 
tinuously the help from the interior 
nearness that she said that if she had 
never believed in immortality before, 
this would have compelled her belief 
in another life, and it would have com- 
pelled it very happily, for every sugges- 
tion from inside that came to her, as 
she obeyed, she found not only to be 
practically useful, but enlarging to her 
ideas of how best to serve. 

It is so easy to see, if we will only 
look, how selfish it is to grieve and 
to think only of our own loss when, 
as in the case of my friend, the loss 
may be really no loss at all, but only a 
gain. Selfish grieving clogs the way in 
us so that we could not possibly get a 
suggestion from within. 

Suppose that there can be communica- 
tion with those in the other world ; sup- 
pose that they who are there can know 
149 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

something of us who are here. Can't 
you imagine their possible distress when, 
because of their new inside light they 
have so much to give us, they see us 
plunged in our own selfish grief and 
because of that turning away from them ? 
Just think of the possible disappoint- 
ment to one on the inside when the 
friend who is left outside grieves and 
grieves and will not listen. 

To keep quiet and listen and do our 
duty. That is the first need of all who 
wake up to the fact of having indulged 
selfish grief. Indeed, grief for the loss 
of another by the death of the body can 
teach us to keep quiet and listen and to 
do our work in the world from that 
listening attitude. And such an atti- 
tude of mind and heart will bring us light 
and strength to do our work better. If 
we listen first to God, --by trusting 
His love and obeying His command- 
150 



DEATH AND DYING 

ments, that will give us power to 
listen to the best in others, whether they 
are in this world or the next, and to 
act upon the messages we get. So shall 
we learn to live in causes, and not in 
effects, except as seen and understood 
from causes, and the Kingdom of Causes 
is that way within us which may 
lead to heaven or to hell. The King- 
dom of Causes is the spiritual world. 



CHAPTER 10 

Courage 

THERE is a man away back some- 
where in history, who is reported 
as trembling with fear as his 
servants were fastening on his armor. 
When his friends, seeing the fear in his 
body and the expression of his face, 
sympathized with him, and protested 
against his going into the thick of the 
fight when such fear was upon him, the 
warrior responded with firmness and 
dignity that if his body knew where he 
was to take it that day it would quake 
with fear so that he could hardly carry 
it. I am c orry not to remember the 
exact words, for the dignity and beauty 
of them impressed me deeply. This 

152 



COURAGE 

man knew as by a finer instinct the shal- 
lowness of mere physical fear, and he 
could have known, probably did 
know, the shallowness of mere physi- 
cal courage. 

Physical courage may take a man with 
what seems marvellous power through 
dangerous places and take him through 
successfully. But physical courage, when 
it is only physical, cannot be trusted to 
infallible stability ; it may be pricked 
suddenly, and in unexpected places, and 
then its counterpart is a dogged dullness 
or a quaking fear. 

Physical courage must have its founda- 
tion in the spirit and must receive its 
life from the spirit to grow in power and 
in absolute trustworthiness. 

A man who has true moral courage 
can always cultivate physical courage 
with practice and experience. A man 
who has physical courage and no moral 

153 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

courage may shrink in a panic of fear 
from some totally unexpected cause. 
Of course there are men, and many of 
them, with only physical courage, whose 
comrades have never seen them fail, 
and they may be cited to prove that 
my statement is not true. But these 
men have never had their physical 
courage pricked; and, that being so, it 
will be seen by others who are keenly 
observant that years of such physical 
courage have dulled the sensibilities 
rather than sharpened them; whereas 
years of practice in physical courage, 
backed by the courage of the spirit, 
make a man keener and keener with 
regard to his fellow men, both in his 
power to aid them when it is his privi- 
lege to aid, and in his power to conquer 
where it is his duty to conquer. All 
true courage should be combined with 
clearness of mind. Physical courage 

154 



COURAGE 

alone has no such strength of combina- 
tion. Often physical courage develops 
into merely bravado, and bravado is 
contemptible. 

I have known men and women, too, 
with nervous fears, who had trumped up 
a false courage with which to conquer 
them, and had forced themselves to do 
over and over what they most feared, 
thinking that such forcing would con- 
quer the fear. Such men and women 
are often to be admired ; they do not 
know that they are cultivating false 
courage which is worse than no courage 
at all, and they force themselves through 
terrors of suffering and the keenest pain 
to do what they really think is right. In 
doing this, they are only adding to the 
strain of the fear and pressing the im- 
pression of the fear more deeply into 
their brains. They are also opening 
themselves to the chance of the deepest 

155 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

discouragement, because, after all their 
efforts and suffering, they find that they 
grow worse in their fears and not better. 
How clearly evident it seems, when we 
face it thoughtfully, that it is a fact, 
humanly speaking, that we must drop 
the physical strain, the physical tension 
of fear, if we want to find the courage 
behind it. If men could face that fact 
and act upon it with real force of will, 
not only would a large amount of entirely 
unnecessary suffering be saved, but the 
nerves, through having been intelligently 
compelled to drop the strain of the fear, 
would be opened and invigorated by 
the rush of courageous action which 
would fill them. I have seen these facts 
proved in actual experience. Often yield- 
ing or relaxing from the strain of fear is 
done almost instantaneously, and quite 
unconsciously through the pressure of 
the courageous spirit behind. Then the 
156 



COURAGE 

nerves are at once expanded, and the man 
does his best work. But, with many 
of the best fighters, the night before, or 
days before, is where the trouble comes ; 
and, if at that time a man could know, 
first, that it takes more will to relax 
from strain of fear than it does to fight 
when the time comes; secondly, that if 
he uses his will prayerfully to relax from 
the strain of fear when it attacks him, 
the night before or days before, both the 
prayer and the new strength of will 
gained from the yielding will be with 
him and will sharpen and strengthen his 
best powers in time of stress. If a 
man could know all this, and from con- 
viction act upon it, it could and would 
mean wonders to him and to those 
about him. 

As for homesickness, from which many 
soldiers suffer keenly, as a man under- 
stands how and why he should drop 
157 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

the strain caused by it, the relief of 
having accomplished that through in- 
telligent yielding will bring him nearer 
to a sense of home than he otherwise 
would have been. 

And all of us at home need courage, 
just as much as the soldiers. We should 
not only be truly courageous in our 
work here, but should do our utmost to 
transmit such courage with real cheer- 
fulness in letters and messages sent to 
our soldiers. It has been reported that 
men at the front have many times had the 
courage and even the strength, taken out 
of them, through grief -stricken, pitying 
letters from home. Such things should 
be impossible, and so they would be, if 
mothers and relatives and friends went 
fully in their hearts with their boys, and 
with the great cause for which they 
are fighting. 

One can hardly believe that at this 
158 



COURAGE 

late day when the nation has gathered 
itself together for its best work, we 
could hear from any source whatever 
such an exclamation as: "Oh, don't 
mention this terrible war to me again. 
I can't bear to think of it. Let's talk 
of something pleasant." But one does 
hear it, and there should be, it seems to 
me, a special internment camp for such 
human jellyfish. They should be forced 
to study maps of the Eastern and Western 
battlefields, and prick out on them every 
advance and retreat. Lord Bryce's re- 
port on atrocities should be read aloud 
to them at intervals. Pictures of Rheims 
and Soissons and Laon should be flashed 
on screens for their benefit, until, in 
the contemplation of bigger things, they 
forget the pitiful littleness of their own 
sensibilities. 

For, in the first place, this is not a 
terrible war. Terrible things, ghastly, 

159 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

unbelievable things, have happened in 
the course of it. But the war itself is 
glorious, sacred, the greatest in magni- 
tude of all conflicts ; it is also one of the 
highest in purpose, one of the worthiest of 
achievements, because it is being fought 
for human rights, as embodied first in the 
rights of the little nations, Belgium, 
Poland, Roumania, Serbia, as em- 
bodied also in the rights of the indi- 
vidual of every nation. The thought 
of defeat, and that alone, can be in any 
way terrible. Let us, therefore, put 
that thought out of our minds, and in- 
stead look for uses to which we may 
put our heads and hands, consecrating 
our hearts to a high, bright courage. 
Of true courage this war is an admi- 
rable test. There is something solid and 
reassuring in that, and no one of us but 
is glad of a big test for a worthy cause. I 
once knew a student in a great Law School, 
1 60 



COURAGE 

who was preparing for his final exami- 
nations. Two days before the time set, 
as he was working night and day, an 
ulcerated tooth took him for a victim. 
He simply refused to be victimized. He 
took a happy pleasure in ignoring that 
tooth. I saw him the night before the 
examination. His face was swollen ri- 
diculously, almost beyond recognition. 
But when he smiled he did not look 
ridiculous at all. "They tried to get 
me," he said, "but Til show 'em. 9 ' 

But the healthy joy of a fair fight for 
a worthy cause is not the only good 
thing in this war's supreme test of 
courage. Another is the fact that it 
is for all of us, universal. 

Sum up your hardships and then com- 
pare them with your neighbor's. Com- 
pare them with this man's, for instance. 
The mortgage on his home was fore- 
closed while he was overseas, and his 
161 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

wife and child turned into the street. 
Then his legs were shot away in a charge, 
and the rest of him was left in a shell 
hole, to bleed to death, perhaps, or per- 
haps be miraculously saved, but in any 
event crippled and unable to support 
his family. Compare your troubles with 
those of thousands of others. The young 
wife who loses her husband ; the mother 
who loses her only son ; the girl whose 
brother is a prisoner, whose letters have 
stopped coming. For you, my friend, 
it is infinitely hard, but for others it is 
infinitely hard also. Look about you 
and see how they are bearing the pain. 
Then smile, trust God, and go on with 
your job. 

Courage, then, boils down to the task 
of forgetting one's self. Whether one 
is over there, fighting, or over here, 
waiting that is the main thing. Do 
you know what makes the British so 
,162 



COURAGE 

courageous? It is their sweet sense of 
humor. We in this country are accus- 
tomed to say that the British have no 
sense of humor. We are wrong. We 
mean they have no sense of farce, which 
is often mistaken for humor. The Brit- 
ish are supreme in humor -- the force 
which makes you smile, inside. An Eng- 
lishman can sit through hours of bom- 
bardment, up to his knees in icy mud, 
and still confide to his neighbor, "What 
a slow place Flanders would be, if it 
weren't for the Germans." 

Forgetting himself in extreme stress 
comes easily to the Englishman and to 
the French. The British will stand days 
of punishment of the hardest, most 
nerve-wracking kind, and hold their line 
firm as a rock. The French can do the 
same ; and, when the enemy is tired of 
getting worn down with machine guns 
and rifle fire, when his eternal waves 
163 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

have ceased through sheer exhaustion 
and his guns at last are silent, secure 
in the consciousness that the French, 
though still firm, are defeated then 
those Frenchmen, with hours of torture 
behind them, will wink at one another 
and promptly start an offensive of their 
own. The courage of the French is 
inexplicable. There is a powerful some- 
thing, an inner fire, if you like, which 
simply lifts their spirits out of their 
bodies and drives them on in the service 
of the Republic. I think as a nation 
they are the bravest men in the world. 

Now we Americans have some of the 
splendid qualities of both British and 
French. We have a sense of humor, 
I think; and we have genuine emotion. 
But we are oppressed with a heavy selfish- 
ness. It is that which we must conquer. 
We must study ourselves impersonally, 
for the sake of a greater use. We 
164 



COURAGE 

must conserve our nervous energy when 
we can, for the sake of exerting a higher 
concentration of our forces when the 
time is ripe. We must conquer the begin- 
nings of self-pity; we must keep our 
bodies and minds clean and true; we 
must let the strain of our experiences 
go through us and out of us ; we must 
will to obey the laws of God, to find 
strength in obedience ; we must, above 
all things, remember that it is the Other 
Man who counts. It is for him that we are 
fighting, and for him that we must sacri- 
fice, bravely, to the end. For, through 
sacrifice, God willing, may come victory. 
I commend to you the picture of a 
handful of Americans on the march up 
to the first line, who picked wild flowers 
growing by the roadside and stuck them 
in their helmets ; and so, uplifted by an 
eager sense of duty, the divine sense of high 
adventure, stepped gaily, gladly into battle. 
165 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

St. Christopher wanted to serve a 
man who had no fear. He served for 
some time a great king whom he heartily 
admired. But he discovered that the 
king was afraid of the devil ; and so 
St. Christopher went until he found the 
devil, and engaged himself in his service. 
St. Christopher was rushing with the 
devil, whose cleverness and power for 
evil he had observed keenly, against his 
enemies, when a leader in the op- 
posite army simply stood still and held 
up the hilt of his sword, which was in the 
form of a cross. The devil and all his 
hosts shrank, trembled with terror, and 
became powerless. St. Christopher saw 
their fear and left them at once. He 
wanted to serve the man who had held 
up his sword the man who had made 
the devil tremble with fear. But the 
man had disappeared, and St. Christopher 
started in search of him. While he was 
1 66 



COURAGE 

searching St. Christopher came to a 
strong torrent across which passengers 
needed to be ferried. Having the 
strength to carry them across on his 
back, he stopped for a while to attend 
to this new occupation. He crossed once 
at the call of a little child and lifted him 
on to his back, but as they went over the 
stream, the child grew so heavy that 
Christopher, astonished at his burden, 
could hardly stand ; he managed, however, 
to stem the tide and totter to the opposite 
bank, and when he put the child on the 
ground he saw a great light, and there 
stood the Lord the Lord, who showed 
Christopher plainly that to all those who 
were heart and soul in His service, there 
was no such thing as fear. So Christo- 
pher found his quest and entered into 
his eternal service. 

Unselfishness is that which gives to cour- 
age both its sure foundation and endurance. 
167 



THE HEART OF GOOD 
HEALTH 



The Heart of Good Health 1 

THERE is a training of the hu- 
man body so perfectly corre- 
sponding to the progress of the 
soul in its regeneration, that, as we study 
it, the impression comes to us more and 
more clearly that all who are interested 
in the relation of the soul and the body 
should not only be familiar with this 
physical training, but should so fulfil its 
requirements that, while following the 
paths of spiritual truth, the way lead- 
ing back to an orderly, natural state of 
the body may be made more clear. 
This training for the body, which is to 
be described later, is not in the slightest 

1 Copyright, 1907, by Little, Brown, and Company. 
171 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

degree artificial. It is not an acquisition, 
in the strict sense of that word, any 
more than the spiritual power which 
comes from shunning evils as sins is an 
acquisition of our own. As the gaining 
of spiritual strength comes through the 
full realization that we cannot progress 
in our regeneration through any selfish 
effort, that the first necessity for 
spiritual growth is the dropping of self 
and selfish desires, so in this physical 
work the first object is an absolute 
letting go of all unnecessary tension - 
all tension that has been impressed 
upon the muscles through an excess of 
effort in our daily lives, through a feel- 
ing of responsibility which is officious 
and presumptuous, although often it is 
purely unconscious ; tension that comes 
through hereditary habit, througli 
needless anxiety, and through causes 
innumerable, but, hard as it is to say 
172 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

so, and harder still to acknowledge, 
which are all selfish in one way or 
another. 

The first thought that comes to us is, 
then, "Remove the cause in the mind, 
and that which is merely the effect 
muscular tension and nervous strain 
will disappear." So it will, eventually, 
but not by any means so quickly or so 
easily as when the effect is studied with 
the cause, or even, in some cases, as 
when the effect is first studied alone, and 
the mind led gradually from that to 
the cause. Sometimes it works one 
way and sometimes another, with dif- 
ferent individuals according to their 
states. But that greater help has come 
from working on the spiritual cause and 
natural effect, either simultaneously or 
successively, has been proved too many 
times to be denied. Whether the pupil 
is first trained in causes or in effects, the 
173 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

heart and mind of the teacher should 
always work primarily in causes. 

How many trusting, patient souls do 
we see with the muscles of the forehead 
strained so that their eyebrows never 
fall to a normal height? They believe 
themselves to be trustful, perhaps even 
at rest. Help them to become conscious 
of these strained muscles, to become 
sensitive to the unnecessary physical 
tension, and, as they learn to drop it, 
they should invariably be led to consider 
the selfish spiritual tension which is the 
cause, and new light may be perceived 
and new and deeper rest found. 

The Divine in us flows into external 
forms, and, through them, leads us to 
an internal light from which our lives 
are renewed. So the external evidences 
of the misapplication and misuse of our 
own wonderful machine, as we see them 
clearly and overcome them, lead us into 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

new acknowledgments of the spiritual 
causes and a new sense of the absolute- 
ness of the Divine power. There is so 
much that might be said, showing the 
necessity for this training, there are so 
many examples that might be given in 
proof of the good it can and has already 
accomplished, that it would be difficult 
to tell where to stop ; but, above all, I 
desire to make evident its perfect prac- 
ticability. There is too much mysti- 
cism, there are too many lofty expres- 
sions of truth, but too little natural use 
of it. And, while from any natural 
basis we might rise to spiritual truths 
that would amaze us in their power 
and beauty, they would be lost to sight 
entirely or would topple over and come 
to nothing if not started from a broad 
and firm foundation of real love of use. 

Perhaps it will be best to give first as 
concisely as possible a general idea of 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

the physical training alone. To many 
who follow it the spiritual counterpart 
will be quite evident, as, step by step, 
the natural process is described. 

Francois Delsarte was the originator 
or discoverer of the training; but, al- 
though he seemed to have in many 
ways a wonderful instinct, he branched 
off into motions and attitudes supposed 
to be helpful to the development of ex- 
pression, but so utterly artificial, such 
sham work from beginning to end, and 
so disastrous in their results, that it is 
difficult to understand how the same 
man could express at one and the same 
time such absolute falsity and such 
helpful truth. 

All the good in Delsarte can also be 
found in the writings of Swedenborg, 
and so much more besides, that it is to 
Swedenborg one naturally turns in grat- 
itude. Many ancient and modern 
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THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

philosophers have written most helpfully 
on this subject, but none with the same 
fulness as Swedenborg. 

Swedenborg says, "The interior things 
of the mind are in no power except 
through the forces of the body, and 
these forces are not in power except 
through the action of the body itself." 
And again, "In order that all things of 
the body may preserve their formation, 
and thus be permanent in their functions, 
man requires to be nourished and to be 
continually renewed." 

Now man is nourished and renewed 
physically with food, with fresh air, and 
with rest. If our bodies are habitually 
contracted, they will not get their full 
amount of nourishment from either of 
these three sources. 

Some scientists, in studying the pro- 
cess of digestion, put a bit of metal into 
the food which they gave a dog and 
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NERVES AND THE WAR 

then applied the X-ray so that they 
might see the progress of the metal 
through the stomach. It started all 
right, according to the well-known pro- 
cess of digestion, and then some one 
startled the dog and made him angry ; 
immediately the metal ball was seen to 
stop still. When they quieted the dog 
and soothed him, the metal was seen to 
start again in the regular process of 
digestion. This experiment was re- 
peated several times. Every time the 
dog's nerves or muscles became con- 
tracted from fright or anger, or from 
any form of excitement, the ball stopped. 
When the dog became quiet and com- 
fortable, the process of digestion went 
on normally. This experiment proved 
conclusively the effect of superfluous 
contractions upon the nourishing of the 
body. How can a body be whole- 
somely nourished when digestion is 
178 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

constantly interrupted? And, if the in- 
terruption caused by a momentary strain 
is so decided, the interference must be 
constant when a man is in a state of 
habitual excitement, and his stomach 
therefore habitually contracted. The 
stomach and all the digestive organs 
have to push through with their work 
as best they can, but the effect of the 
strain is sure to appear somewhere, for 
to do this work with such a handicap 
the stomach must rob the brain of 
power that ought to have been used 
elsewhere. When the dog was soothed, 
the digestive process went on as if it had 
not been interrupted, which suggests 
how steadily nature's laws are working 
to serve us if we will only give them 
even the least opportunity. Nature will 
do nine tenths of the work for us if we 
will only be thorough and persistent in 
doing our own small share. But we ap- 
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NERVES AND THE WAR 

pear to have neglected the great physical 
laws as completely as it is possible to 
do without actually putting an end to 
our lives, and then we complain of the 
burden of our bodies. 

We resist the normal efforts of the 
stomach to digest and distribute nour- 
ishment from our food ; we resist the 
normal action of our lungs to take 
oxygen from the air and distribute it in 
the blood ; and as for the process of 
resting with most of us it is neces- 
sary to acquire, by voluntary effort and 
study, the standard of rest that should 
be natural to every human being. 

All these contractions which inter- 
fere with the best nourishment of our 
bodies through food and air, and inter- 
fere with our normal rest, come from 
selfish desires. It is as if our nerves 
were all little fists grabbing, like a selfish 
child, for what they want; and when 
1 80 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

the mother says, "No, that would 
make my child ill," the selfishness in 
the baby tries all the more to grab 
what its unintelligent childish brain de- 
sires. All this selfish contraction, when 
it has become habitual, obscures our 
standards, so that what should be nor- 
mal to us appears to be abnormal. 
We are so far from the true sense of re- 
freshment and renewal that we have no 
idea of the possible growth from rest; 
and yet, as some one wisely says : 
"Growth is predominantly a function 
of rest. Work is chiefly an energy- 
expending and tearing-down process. 
Rest following work is chiefly a building- 
up and growing process. Work may 
furnish the conditions under which sub- 
sequent growth may occur, but in itself 
it is destructive. By work we do things 
in the world, but we do not grow by 
work. We grow during rest. Rest is 
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NERVES AND THE WAR 

not the only condition of growth, but it 
is one of the essential conditions. 

"The best work that we do is not be- 
gun in our offices or at our desks, but 
when we are wandering in the woods or 
sitting quietly with undirected thoughts. 
From somewhere at such times there 
flash into our minds those ideas that 
direct and control our lives, visions of 
how to do that which previously had 
seemed impossible, new aspirations, 
hopes, and desires. Work is the process 
of realization. The careful balance and 
the great ideas come largely during 
quiet, and without being sought. The 
man who never takes time to do nothing 
will hardly do great things. He will 
hardly have epoch-making or even stimu- 
lating ideas. 

"Rest is thus not merely in order to 
recuperate for work. If so, we should 
rest only when fatigued. We need to 
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THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

do nothing at times when we are as well 
as possible, when our whole natures 
are ready for their finest product. We 
need occasionally to leave them undi- 
rected in order that we may receive 
these messages by wireless from the 
Unknown. We need to have the in- 
strument working at its greatest per- 
fection, be undirected and receptive. I 
am not advocating a mystic idea. 

"Rest is as important as work. 
Dreams must precede action. Con- 
centrated art is not art, and the acquir- 
ing of facts is not growth." 

Our misunderstanding of rest, and the 
habit of contraction which interferes 
with proper rest, digestion, and breath- 
ing, interfere equally with our move- 
ment and our work. 

It is a well-known fact that a loco- 
motive engine only utilizes nineteen per 
cent of the fuel that it burns, the other 
183 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

eighty -one per cent being, so far as we 
can see, absolutely wasted. So it is 
with the use of the human body in its 
present degenerate state, and especially 
with the American human body. A few 
days' careful observation will make this 
quite evident, even to one who has 
never thought of the question before. 
Watch the unnecessary movement of 
the heads or hands of people talking or 
reading aloud, the unnecessary tension 
used in walking and in every other 
movement. 

At first, if you have not thought of it 
before, you will see only one or two ex- 
amples; but, as you continue to ob- 
serve, the misused energy will become 
more and more evident. As, for in- 
stance, the fact that a man who would 
give to the unobservant the impression 
of perfect calmness, if not of perfect 
ease, is, while talking, constantly making 
184 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

slight nervous motions of the hands and 
feet. 

It will naturally occur to us to think, 
"But I do not wish to notice all this; 
it will annoy me to see it in others, and 
make me unpleasantly self-conscious to 
notice it in myself." So it will; it will 
make one very unpleasantly self-con- 
scious at first, but that is necessary to 
the overcoming of the evil and the drop- 
ping into a more perfect unconscious- 
ness of self. And in proof of this, let 
me turn for a moment to the spiritual 
aspect of the case. 

In a little posthumous work on 
Charity, Emanuel Swedenborg says, "In 
so far as any one does not take cog- 
nizance of and know what sins are, he 
does not see but that he is without 
sins."' And again, "In so far as any 
one takes cognizance of and knows what 
sins are, he can see them in himself, 
185 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

confess them before the Lord, and re- 
pent of them." 

In another book we read, "When it is 
permitted man to think the evils of his 
life's love even to intention, they are 
cured by spiritual means as diseases are 
by natural means," and "he who does 
not think above it is m the darkness of 
night concerning the state of his life." 

I have heard an invalid who had been 
talking about herself for hours assert 
positively that she was not self-cen- 
tered. I have heard a man whose love 
of rule was evident in most things that 
he said and did, say with confidence 
that there was one sin from which he 
was exempt, and that was the desire to 
rule over others. We all know men and 
women with prominent, grievous faults 
of which they are entirely ignorant. 
As we observe this ignorance, we are 
filled with terror as to what monstrous 
1 86 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

selfishness we may be indulging without 
knowing it, and our only protection, 
and that is protection enough, is a 
willingness to acknowledge where we are 
wrong the moment the wrong is brought 
to our notice; and this alertness should 
be as active with little sins as with big 
ones. 

As with sins of the spirit, so with sins 
of the body ; and a misuse of nervous 
energy must certainly be counted a sin. 
When we use more nervous force than 
is necessary for one action, are we not 
stealing vitality which is intended to 
give us new strength for many other 
uses ? Are we not actually taking what 
does not belong to us ? for only the force 
needed for the best performance of the 
action is really ours ; for all our energy 
is given us in trust for useful purposes. 
Whatever we have to do is more per- 
fectly accomplished by moving accord- 
187 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

ing to the laws of nature; superfluous 
effort only blurs and blunders. 

In many cases of trouble the nervous 
contraction resulting from self -conscious- 
ness is the larger part of it and not 
the self-consciousness itself. People suf- 
fer from self-consciousness in various 
forms. They are often prevented from 
living usefully by this involuntary con- 
traction which comes whenever they 
must appear before others, whereas, if 
they could once gain real freedom of 
nerves and muscles, what had seemed a 
deep-seated characteristic which must be 
borne as one of life's burdens would 
entirely disappear. The discovery and 
true understanding of self-consciousness 
lead us at once beyond and above 
them, and we find new pleasure and ease 
in living out to others, and for others. 
A noble spirit is often prevented from 
developing its best powers of use by the 
188 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

clogging of the physical channels through 
which it must act ; and it suffers be- 
cause, not recognizing any physical im- 
pediment, the trouble seems to be en- 
tirely spiritual and so more serious. 

Of course the root of self-conscious- 
ness is the desire to appear well before 
others, but often when we have put 
away the excessive care for appearances, 
the inherited contraction belonging to it 
still remains with us ; then, if we give 
our attention to freeing ourselves from 
the physical tension, we not only lib- 
erate the body, but the spirit is thus 
enabled to express itself more truly 
in outward action ; moreover the freer 
the body is, the more sensitively it 
reflects the immediate mistakes of the 
spirit. 

In this physical training whose object 
is to save at least a part of the waste of 
human energy, and to help us to a better 
189 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

and more economical management of 
our human engine, progress should be 
steady but gradual. First, all force 
must be dropped, the tension must be 
taken from our bodies entirely, and this 
brings us physically as nearly to the 
state of a healthy baby as is possible. 
But it cannot be done all at once; it 
cannot be done with every part of the 
body at once. The body must be taken 
piecemeal sometimes in one order, 
sometimes in another, according to in- 
dividual needs. There are motions for 
freeing the muscles connected with the 
head ; and it is surprising to find how 
much force we use to hold our own 
heads on, as we may prove by our in- 
ability to let them drop down. Nature 
will hold them on for us much better 
than we can, and we only hinder her by 
trying to help. The personal endeavor 
hitherto has been unconscious ; but as 
190 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

soon as we become conscious of it, 
how can we cease trying until we have 
dropped our personal officiousness to 
that extent ? 

In the head is the source of the nerv- 
ous system, and the quieting effect of 
freeing it is felt all over the body. 

It is not within the province of this 
essay to describe the exercises, even if 
they could be written so clearly that 
they might be followed and practised, 
which unfortunately cannot be done. 

When the head has regained its free- 
dom, partially if not entirely, then we 
should go to the rescue of the weakest 
part of the body, that is, that part of 
the body where the largest portion of 
wasted energy appears to be consumed. 
If that is not at once discerned, then the 
hands and arms should be freed, and the 
fingers, because of their constant use, 
are likely to be more tense than any 
191 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

other part of the body. The parts 
above the knuckles, especially, often 
seem as if bound by steel wires, so 
closely are they knit together from a 
too tense use of the hand. The fingers 
should be freed until they can hang 
from the wrists like little bags of sand. 
After that the arms are brought back to 
their natural state, and made to hang 
like larger bags of sand ; so that, when 
not in use, they are perfectly relaxed, as 
they were meant to be, and ready to 
turn easily, and not rigidly, to what- 
ever use they need to perform. Then 
the feet and legs are trained to be re- 
laxed and quiet when not in use, and the 
effect of this is to bring a natural rhyth- 
mic gait in walking. After the feet 
and legs come the waist muscles and 
the muscles of the chest. The waist 
muscles are especially hard to relax, 
and the unnecessary pressure brought 
192 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

to bear on them in walking is, almost 
without exception, very striking. 

The most important of all the exer- 
cises necessary to dropping contraction 
and gaining a greater freedom of the 
body are exercises in breathing. 
Swedenborg says that "the breathing is 
according to the freedom of the life" 
and this assertion is quickly and easily 
proven to be true by a little careful ob- 
servation. In a tired, strained body the 
breathing is quick and hard ; even when 
sleeping, a nervously strained man will 
show his fatigue in his breathing and 
what a contrast it is to the gentle, rest- 
ful breathing of a healthy child. A 
man who is excited and full of resent- 
ment, or some other form of resistance, 
will show it at once in his breathing. 
Habitual resistance is reflected con- 
stantly in the breathing, and the habit 
of unnecessary tension in breathing keeps 
193 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

us in a state of chronic strain. "In 
machineries, any motion which is super- 
abundant, or not turned to use, is 
hurtful to the object sought, precisely 
because motion always has effects, which 
in the latter case mix with the intended 
result, and confuse or disarrange it. 
This applies more strikingly to the hu- 
man frame than to anything of man's 
making. . . . The use of breathing is 
to communicate motion to the body, to 
distribute it to the different machineries 
or viscera, to enable them to go to work 
according to their powers. . . . For the 
body is a chain of substances and organs 
whose connections are so disposed, that 
motions communicated from within, vi- 
brate from end to end, and from side to 
side, and extend to the extremities of 
the limbs before they are absorbed. . . . 
The plain consequence is that the nerves 
and the spinal marrow are expanded 
194 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

with each inspiration. Either that or 
they resist the inspiration, and in this 
case the unity of the body is at an 
end. ... If they are expanded or en- 
larged when the lungs draw them out, 
of course a physical fluid enters them 
to fill the space created, and tends to 
free the organs to which they are dis- 
tributed. In this way the nervous sys- 
tem, the focus of life, opens the frame at 
the same intervals as the lungs, the 
circumference of life ; the lungs being 
simply the want of living fluid, and the 
nerves the corresponding supply. This 
is an organic cooperation between ef- 
fect and cause, whereby the highest 
purposes of the organization are 
seconded most absolutely, and yet most 
freely, by the lowest." Or, to simplify 
it, the lungs supply the brain with 
power through the oxygen, which flows 
into the lungs and is taken up there by 
195 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

the blood and carried to the brain, and 
there is therefore a motion in the brain 
with every inhalation and exhalation of 
the lungs. When we inhale, the blood 
comes from the brain to be supplied 
with oxygen ; as we exhale, the blood 
returns to the brain with its new supply 
of life. If the breathing is quick and 
sharp and full of unnecessary effort, 
the motion of the brain is of course 
strained. If the breathing is quiet and 
steady and gentle, with no resistance to 
any inspiration, the motion of the brain 
is quiet and restful and strengthening. 
If we learn to breathe quietly, it will 
help us to think quietly, and wherever 
we are thinking quietly we are breathing 
quietly. 

"By means of the lungs, which keep 

everything on the move, the man is ever 

ready for living operations. Thus the 

quickness of the body's service depends 

196 



THE HEART OP GOOD HEALTH 

entirely upon its response to the anima- 
tion of the lungs." When motion in 
the body, and especially in the brain, 
has become habitually sharp and un- 
quiet and strained, we must consciously 
and with steady attention work to bring 
it back to rhythm. Even when we ap- 
preciate the strength of quiet thinking 
and aim directly to gain it, we find our- 
selves terribly impeded by the habitual 
strain of quick, irregular breathing which 
is so fixed upon us that we must give our 
attention first to regulating the physical 
machine before we can make it a good 
channel for the better work of our 
minds. We may begin to think quietly, 
and yet old, unquiet habits which have 
impressed themselves upon our bodies 
will react again and will actually dis- 
turb our minds. Dead deposits made 
by old habits can make us very great 
trouble if we do not recognize them as 
197 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

such and go to work with a will to re- 
lease ourselves from the nervous tension 
which those habits have made. The 
body is of no importance, comparatively, 
when we know how to use it, but it is 
of very great importance as an impedi- 
ment to our best expression if we mis- 
use it and allow it to establish bad 
habits. It will or should claim our 
attention then until it has become what 
it was intended to be a healthy ani- 
mal, absolutely obedient to the soul 
that occupies it. 

Long, quiet, steady breaths practised 
at regular intervals, even only once, and 
for not more than half an hour, every 
day, will produce a very happy change 
in bringing us toward unconscious rest- 
ful breathing. We should aim to take 
the breath in as gently as a fog creeps 
in from the sea, and to feel more as if 
we were letting it come in than as if we 
198 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

were drawing it in ourselves. That 
takes away the nervous resistance to 
inspiration, which is implanted in us by 
other resistances, mental and physical. 
In letting our breath out we should feel 
ourselves relax inside with a sense of 
rest, and let the breath go out of us as 
the air goes out of little children's bal- 
loons when it is allowed to escape. We 
should feel as we might if we were 
lying in the snow, and every time we 
let the breath out we settled back in- 
voluntarily and made a deeper im- 
pression in the snowbank on which we 
were lying. 

After every long, deep breath the 
lungs will expand and contract of them- 
selves in breaths which at first are very 
full and gradually decrease until they 
have settled to an average length 
and every time we allow the lungs to 
have their own way after a very deep 
199 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

inhalation, the final breath reached will 
be nearer the normal, both in length 
and in force. So it is if we get out of 
breath in climbing a mountain, if we 
will stop and wait and let our lungs 
breathe as hard as they want to 
even assist them by emphasizing the 
hard breathing at first and then letting 
them go as they please, we will find 
that when our "second breath" comes, 
it will be fuller, more quiet, and more 
vigorous because we have let the lungs 
find it for themselves and not repressed 
their motion. 

Conscious, quiet, rhythmic breathing 
while we are lying or sitting still is also 
very helpful toward bringing the brain 
and the nerves into good condition. 
Sometimes we can take regular long 
not very long breaths, sometimes 
short, like a baby asleep. The sense of 
a gentle rhythm of motion which grows 
200 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

upon us as we give our attention to it 
is especially useful. Some professional 
physical trainer has said that our un- 
conscious, everyday breathing should be 
as slow as six breaths to a minute. This 
seems very slow when we try it, and, al- 
though it is restful and strengthening for 
a while, it certainly seems somewhat 
exaggerated as a constant habit. But 
there is no doubt that our habitual 
breathing should be much slower than 
it usually is, and that to establish the 
habit of slow and quiet breathing would 
help us greatly to gain a habit of quiet, 
wise thinking. 

The breathing governs the most ex- 
pressive power of the human body, the 
human voice. Nervous and muscular 
contractions not only interfere with the 
best tones of the voice, physically ; they 
often make it impossible to express truly 
what is in our hearts. We think and 
201 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

feel strongly, and sometimes the very 
contractions produced by that feeling 
make it impossible for us to express the 
feeling itself. A German teacher who 
had a remarkable knowledge and ap- 
preciation of the possibility of the voice 
said that he knew the "soul" of the 
voice was in the region of the diaphragm 
and "with you," he said, "you Ameri- 
cans, you squeeze the life from the word 
in your throats and it is born dead." 
Our thoughts are expressed by our words, 
but the feeling which prompts the 
thoughts is expressed in the tones of 
our voice. When our habitual state of 
feeling has kept our bodies in constant 
contraction, it is impossible for any im- 
mediate feeling to break through the 
tension caused by that habitual con- 
traction, no matter how strong and free 
the feeling may be. 

It is orderly while we are in this 
202 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

world that the body should be under- 
going a process of regeneration with the 
soul, for the deposits of strain left in an 
unregenerated body make a barrier to 
the growth and external expression of a 
truly growing soul. If these deposits 
were a matter of one man's lifetime, the 
freedom gained in the character might 
break through them, and so obviate the 
necessity of thinking of the body any 
more than to fulfil the conditions of 
breathing plenty of fresh air and eating 
only nourishing food. These deposits of 
contraction, however, have come not 
only from a man's personal habits, but 
from his grandfather and his great- 
grandfather, and probably from many 
generations back, so that a man's soul 
has a prison of a body from the time of 
his early childhood. The compensation 
for the necessity of working to bring 
the body to a state of obedience to a 
203 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

growing soul is that the work for the 
body is so exactly in accordance with 
the work for the soul that nothing 
permanent or eternal is lost by the 
physical training, in spite of our leaving 
the body behind when we go from this 
world to the next. 

After exercises in deep breathing, tak- 
ing long and full breaths, and allowing 
the air to escape by the natural elas- 
ticity of the lungs, without forcing of 
any kind, the whole body should be 
freed from all unnecessary tension ; it 
must be prepared to relax at any time, 
and so gain perfect rest. Thus the first 
new life felt in the regenerating body 
will often come from the refreshment of 
a natural sleep. 

For an exquisite example of what this 

may be, lift a healthy, sleeping baby ; 

first its head, then its arms, its legs, and 

finally, without waking it, hold its little 

204 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

body on your two widely spread hands. 
There is no more beautiful illustration 
in the world of what this regeneration 
of the body should be, a state of freedom 
for the body which is as necessary and 
as helpful on the material plane as the 
regeneration of the soul on the spiritual 
plane. The process is a long, often a 
very long one, and, unless the end is 
constantly kept in view, sometimes 
tedious, but well worth close, and even 
severe, persistence. 

Action and reaction are great laws 
throughout the universe, and every- 
where in nature the action and reaction 
are equal, bringing perfect equilibrium, 
perfect rhythm. In a normal man the 
action and reaction of the involuntary 
muscles are equal ; but, alas, not so 
with the voluntary muscles ; their action 
exceeds their reaction far too often. 
And so they must be trained first to 
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NERVES AND THE WAR 

rest, and then become ready for a more 
perfect and natural action. This is the 
more interesting part of the physical 
training. It leads to grace, of course, 
for it leads to purely natural movement, 
and all nature is graceful. 

It is equilibrium that we are really 
aiming at. The body is made so that 
its normal balance is most exquisite, 
and, when once we find the poise given 
us by nature, and have learnt to pre- 
serve the power of rhythmic motion 
which is our natural birthright, the per- 
fect coordination of the muscles causes 
so quick and true a response of the body 
to the mind, as to bring us not only to 
a clearer appreciation of our wonderful 
mechanism, but also to enable us to for- 
get it entirely. 

The first law of motion is beautifully 
clear in dealing with spiritual things. 
In the "Laws of the Divine Providence" 
206 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

Swedenborg says, "Nothing exists, sub- 
sists, is acted upon or moved by itself, 
but by some other being or agent; 
whence it follows that everything exists, 
subsists, is acted upon and moved by 
the First Being, who has no origin from 
another, but is in Himself the living 
force which is life." This is perfectly 
expressed on the plane of matter by the 
law of movement in the human body 
that every agent is moved from some- 
thing prior to it. To express it simply, 
if not quite scientifically, the head is 
moved from the muscles of the neck, 
the hand moves from the wrist, the 
forearm from the upper arm, the whole 
arm from the shoulder, the foot from the 
ankle, the lower leg from the upper, and 
the whole leg from the hip. 

The whole body should be moved 
from an imaginary centre about at the 
pit of the stomach. It is as if the brain 
207 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

were in that centre, and to watch a 
movement begin there and transmit 
itself successively throughout the body 
is a delight. The coordination is ex- 
quisite and powerful in its effect. 

This perfectly harmonious movement 
was the foundation of oriental dancing, 
- that dancing which has now degen- 
erated into a hell diametrically opposite 
to what must in ancient times have 
been the heaven of motion. It is now 
a lost art so far as its expression is con- 
cerned, but it is not a lost art inasmuch 
as the knowledge of it can be found 
and used, if any one really desires to do 
so. It would be a wonderful, artistic 
revelation if this dancing could be re- 
vived in all its purity. 

The more truly the body is regen- 
erated, the more exquisite is the coor- 
dination of every movement. 

The law of action and reaction is, of 
208 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

course, followed perfectly in natural mo- 
tion. Take walking, for instance. The 
muscles used in resting upon the leg are 
not the same as those used in swinging 
it forward. Consequently, while the 
muscles of the hip are used in the left 
leg, in the right they are resting, and 
vice versa. Every articulation should be 
trained to use to its fullest natural 
extent, and with only the force needed 
to move it. And the force needed de- 
creases to a degree that seems wonder- 
ful in itself, and still more wonderful as 
we begin to realize the way in which we 
have been thumping (I use the expres- 
sion advisedly) upon an exquisite instru- 
ment that will respond to a more deli- 
cate touch than we are able to produce. 
It would of course be impossible to take 
the body muscle by muscle and rear- 
range it, and, if it were possible, we 
would not wish to do so. All we need 
209 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

to do is to shun the contractions that 
we see, to make ourselves physically free 
and clean; then nature comes and rear- 
ranges us, and in the exercises, which 
are of course most general, the muscles 
work in perfect harmony because they 
are left in their natural order and rela- 
tion to each other. Thus we learn how 
to allow the body to be perfectly pas- 
sive so that it may react to the activity 
of the mind ; and thus the mind itself 
should know how to be passive in order 
to react to the activity of the Divine 
mind. 

It is wonderful to see how much more 
perfectly artistic expression can be se- 
cured by means of the physical freedom 
than by the greatest effort of contrac- 
tion ; for physical freedom in the art 
of acting, for instance serves as a 
pliable and sympathetic medium through 
which an artistic conception can reveal 
210 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

itself, whereas, with contracted nerves 
and muscles, the conception has to be 
laboriously and painfully manufactured. 
The nerves should be the vehicles of 
expression, not its absorbers ; and when 
they are free to be clear transmitters, 
the result of powerful expression is new 
strength, instead of the nervous, trem- 
bling fatigue which too often comes after 
really able effort. 

The Divine life is in all that is true 
and best in every art, indeed it is the 
source of all art ; and, as we learn to 
quiet the physical and mental tension 
which comes from unwholesome excite- 
ment, it is wonderful to see how we are 
lifted, by the power of the art, to a 
more living interest in it, to a growing 
appreciation of how much greater the 
art is than we are, and how our special 
work is only to remove obstructions, so 
that the art may express itself more 

211 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

perfectly through us. This means noth- 
ing unless practically applied ; and, when 
it is made the daily text for artistic 
work, in whatever form, there comes 
a realization of what the regeneration of 
body and soul might mean to the cause 
of true beauty and power in art. 

An illustration of the natural goal to 
be reached can hardly be given more 
concisely than Mr. Ruskin gives it : 
"Is not the evidence of ease on the very 
front of all the greatest works in exis- 
tence ? Do they not plainly say to us 
not 'there has been a great effort here', 
but * there has been a great power here ' ? 
It is not the weariness of mortality, but 
the strength of Divinity that we have to 
recognize in all mighty things ; and that 
is just what we now never recognize, 
but think that we are to do great 
things by help of iron bars and perspi- 
ration ; alas ! we shall do nothing that 
212 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

way, but lose some pounds of our own 
weight." 

In his book on "Rational Psy- 
chology", Swedenborg beautifully de- 
scribes the state of the regenerate body. 
He says : 

"Patience also is written in the body; 
something mild and patient shines forth 
from the countenance, from the very 
sound of the speech, and so far as it 
appertains to the mind, from the dis- 
course also. The face is serene, smiling, 
even while others burn; the blood is 
softer, healthier, warm but not burning, 
full of vital heat but not concreted into 
fibers ; the pulse is lighter and more 
constant, the bile is not dark but more 
yellow in color, the arteries more yielding, 
the fibers tender, the organs more vigorous 
and ready to obey the dictates of the mind, 
and in all parts there is manifest a 
pleasing grace, if not beauty. In a 
213 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

word, each particular part of the body 
is patient ; for as is the mind and the 
animus, such is the state of the most 
particular parts of the whole body, since 
the latter conforms to the image and 
nature of its soul. If otherwise, it is a sign 
that the mind is injured from some cause. 
" Patience, so far as it is the tranquil 
and serene state of the mind, free from 
disturbance by the affections of the 
animus, is itself the most perfect state ; 
for the mind is, in this state, left to itself, 
has time for its own operations, regards 
its reasons more interiorly, and forms its 
judgments more sincerely, and out of 
these it selects the true, the better, and 
more fitting, and remits them into its 
will, which then is not possessed with 
the tumult of natural desires. Thus 
enjoying an almost perfect liberty, it 
holds the animus subject to itself as if 
in chains, nor does it permit it to wander 
214 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

beyond the limits of its own choice. 
Thus also it commands the actions of 
its body, and more purely and intelli- 
gently receives and contemplates its sen- 
sations. When the mind is thus left 
to itself, and neither corporeal or mun- 
dane things nor the heat thence arising 
disturbs its ease, then it enjoys the in- 
most fellowship with its pure intellectory 
or the soul, and suffers natural and 
spiritual truths to flow in; for it is only 
the corporeal affections and desires of 
the animus which obscure and pervert 
the intellectual ideas of the mind. 
Hence it is that the mind, in its state of 
patience or tranquillity, is cold in its 
circulation as compared with the heats 
of the animus and thence of the body, 
but very full of love or of the more pure 
and perfect life. For that there be any 
mind it must be warmed with a certain 
love, but the purer this is, the purer is 
215 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

the mind, because the better is the life. 
From this state the mind regards the 
lower loves and those purely corporeal 
as infantile sports or as insane, and the 
more so as they are believed to be wise. 
Thus witnessing these it does not be- 
come heated and angered, but it pities, 
condoles, pardons, tries to amend, re- 
joices in its success, bears its injuries as 
a mother those inflicted by her child, 
for it embraces all in its love, while it 
hates vices. Patience, therefore, may 
well exist without anger, but it is not 
without its zeal by which it defends, al- 
though with moderation, its truths. 
The mind is never disturbed by such a 
fire, still less extinguished, but is re- 
freshed, for this agrees with its nature. 
For the rational mind, the more it is 
liberated from impure fires, the more it 
burns with the pure fire which is mild and 
does not rage, but restores its state. 
216 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

"Such patience, which is the moder- 
ator of the passions of the animus, is 
rarely inborn, for every one has an in- 
clination to certain affections of the 
mind, but with age and with the judg- 
ment it grows, and especially is it per- 
fected by its own exercise; but that 
which is genuine does not exist without 
the truths of religion and the principles 
of piety, nor without violence done to 
the natures of the animus and the body. 
Misfortune even, and sickness, which 
repress the fervor of the blood and the 
spirits, are also frequently the causes of 
this patience. 

"The character of impatience may be 
inferred from this description of patience, 
for it is of the rational mind, which de- 
sires ends, while the end is hindered or 
obstructed by intervening obstacles or by 
the ideas of impossibilities, which are 
so many resistances, lest the will should 
217 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

break forth into acts. Hence the ani- 
mus which desires is tortured, and the 
body is distressed and the mind regards 
single moments as long delays. Thus 
the more ardent is the animus, the 
greater is the impatience; the more 
tranquil the mind, the less it is. Least 
of all is the impatience of those who 
commit their fortunes to the Divine 
Providence." 

By shunning the physical contractions 
made by wrong inherited and personal 
habits, we bring the body into a state 
where it can more immediately respond 
to the active patience of the soul. 

And do we not express a desire for 
the physical regeneration when we pray, 
'Thy will be done on earth, as it is in 
heaven " ? 

As the new life of the soul comes 
from a daily growing realization that we 
are only forms for the reception of the 
218 



THE HEART OF GOOD HEALTH 

Divine life, that all we can do is to shun 
evils as of ourselves, acknowledging that 
the power to do so is from the Lord, so 
the new life of the body comes from 
shunning all things that would interfere 
with its perfect mechanism, in order to 
place it in harmony with the Lord's 
natural laws ; and then it is the Lord, 
through these laws, who keeps us in phys- 
ical order. And again, as we feel that 
every action of the soul is from a power 
above or beyond it, there is a keen 
pleasure in seeing the law carried out 
externally in every motion of the body. 

The soul can be regenerated and the 
body remain disorderly; the body can 
be trained to fine physical life and 
action, and the soul remain unregenerate ; 
but certainly the fulness of life must 
come from a more perfect harmony of 
the body with the soul. 

So long as the soul needs the body at 
219 



NERVES AND THE WAR 

all, it must be of inestimable impor- 
tance that the body should conform to 
the pure laws of nature by shunning 
physical evils, just as it is that the soul 
should be born again through shunning 
spiritual evils. The life of both comes 
from looking to the Lord. 

Thus, by shunning obstructions to the 
working of natural laws, do we bring 
our bodies voluntarily back again to the 
child state into which they were born. 
Through realizing a new life on the 
physical plane, we come to a deeper ap- 
preciation of the breadth and power, 
both physical and spiritual, of the law 
that says, "Except ye be converted and 
become as little children, ye shall not 
enter into the kingdom of heaven." 

Thus may we realize the never-end- 
ing difference between the innocence of 
ignorance and the innocence of wisdom. 

THE END 



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